The 2010 census and what it means to Michigan

The results of the 2010 Census were made public today. Among other things, it was revealed that the U.S. population grew 9.7% over the course of the past decade, which is the slowest rate of growth since the Great Depression. That, of course, is an average, and some states did better than others. While several states barely grew at all, only one actually lost population over the past decade. Can you guess which one it was? If you said Michigan, you’d be right. Ours was the only state in the entire nation to lose population. (Even Louisiana, which lost thousands of people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, didn’t fare so badly.) And, as a result, not only will those of us remaining have to pay more in taxes, to make up for those who have left, but we’ll have less representation in Congress. Our House delegation, it’s being reported today, will drop from 15 to 14. Here, on that subject, is a clip from AnnArbor.com:

…Results of the 2010 census show the number of Michigan residents fell by 0.6 percent since 2000, officials said. As a result, the state’s U.S. House delegation will decrease from 15 to 14. That continues a decline since 1970, when the state had 19 representatives…

The state’s loss of a seat will add further intrigue to the process of redrawing congressional districts, which takes place after every census. The task is handled by the state Legislature, which will be under Republican control for at least the next two years. The incoming governor, Rick Snyder, is also a Republican…

If you’ll remember, the last time this happened, in 2002, our Republican legislature chose to collapse two Democratic districts into one, pitting Congressman John Dingell, of Michigan’s 16th district, against Lynn Rivers, of Michigan’s 13th. While it’s unclear at this point as to what will happen this time, there’s no reason to think that another Democratic Congressperson won’t be sacrificed in the electoral Thunderdome. I suspect that the Republicans would like to get rid of John Conyers, but, as I understand it, that would be difficult to do under the Voting Rights Act, as his district is mostly minority. I need to look at the map and see if it’s feasible, but I’m thinking that maybe it’ll be Gary Peters of the 9th against Sander Levin of the 12th. Regardless, it’s bad news for the Democratic party in Michigan.

[Tonight’s post is brought to you by Anthony Weiner, his former roommate, Jon Stewart, and the first responders of 9/11.]

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13 Comments

  1. Posted December 21, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    I collected a couple of redistricting maps

    http://www.arborwiki.org/city/Redistricting_maps

    showing partisan bias of various flavors. The republican dominated one, at least a sample one, is here

    http://www.swingstateproject.com/diary/7972/michigan-redistricting-2012-95-gop

    which pits Gary Peters vs Sander Levin and gives an 8-5 Republican edge, with 1 swing district.

  2. dragon
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    “My goal is to break the unions and cut Michigan in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can make it bathe in the Rouge River.”
    –Mr Partisan Q. Hack III of the Offshore Jesus Institute

  3. Knox
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    When you’ve killed Michigan, you’ve killed the middle class.

  4. Edward
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    What it means is pretty simple. No one wants to live here.

  5. Meta
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The total population loss for Michigan was 54,804.

    http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20101222/NEWS04/12220322/1001/NEWS/Decade-s-population-decline-of-54-804-will-cost-Michigan-federal-funding

  6. Robert
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you for saying this.

    If we lived in a country with a real media, the individuals who spew the lunacy would be hounded into obscurity and oblivion. Instead they get more air time.

  7. Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Re – “no one wants to live here”

    Michigan is the 8th largest State by population, and had 9.88 million people living here in 2010. I’m not entirely sure that supports the “no one wants to live here” hypothesis. We could maybe say, “Michigan was not as attractive to new residents as other states.”

    Similarly, I hear the “nobody lives in Detroit” argument a lot, compared to official Census estimates of 910,000 for 2009 (2010 counts won’t be out for a little while yet) – still the 11th largest city in the country.

    Not to say that being the biggest (only) population loser this decade should be shrugged off – but it’s important to keep in context.

  8. Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I think I want to marry Rep. Weiner. He demonstrates reason number 87,138 why I could never be in Congress. My response to the yellers would have sounded like, “What’d you say to me, motherfucker” and “Get up here and kiss my ass. KISS MY ASS GENTLEMAN!!!!”

  9. Brent
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Re – “no one wants to live here”

    A blanket, factually inaccurate statement. Consider me and my partner among the new Michigan residents since 2000 census. I moved here for school and despite the dismal economy have decided to stay.

    The southwest can gloat about their growth but they are going to get mighty thirsty someday.

    Michigan may be down, but it’s not out.

  10. Edward
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    OK, I admit it. I went overboard. Clearly some of us (myself included) do want to live here. Still, I think we’ve got a serious problem on our hands when ours is the ONLY state losing population.

  11. Posted December 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I want to live in Michigan, but I don’t know if Michigan is going to let me.

  12. Glen S.
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I think Brent is right.

    No question that things seem bleak now — but the fact is that Michigan sits at the center of nearly 1/4 of the World’s fresh surface water, is (still) blessed with millions of acres of rich farmland, and a population that has a rich tradition of industry and innovation.

    If anything, I think the fact that our population is (relatively) stable provides a tremendous opportunity to explore how we can develop a more rational and sustainable basis for our economy and society.

    It will likely take several decades, at least — but for those in it for the long haul, I think Michigan’s future is actually quite promising.

  13. Meta
    Posted December 23, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    The Hill reports the following:

    Longtime Dem Reps. Levin and Dingell could face redistricting danger

    By Shane D’Aprile

    Republicans will largely control the redistricting process in Michigan next year, and Democratic Reps. Sander Levin and John Dingell could suffer the fallout.

    Given the big gains on the state level Republicans made last month, the single House seat the state must shed could come at the expense of one of the delegation’s senior Democrats.

    Asked Tuesday whether he was concerned about the prospect of his seat being a target in the upcoming redraw, Levin wouldn’t say, but he did tell The Ballot Box the process is sure to test the limits of bipartisanship.

    “Redistricting will be a test of whether the Republicans are capable of bipartisanship and fairness,” Levin said. “Republicans are talking about [working in a bipartisan way], so we’ll see.”

    Rep. Gary Peters’ (D-Mich.) district could also be on the chopping block.

    The most advantageous scenario for Republicans would be the merging of two Democratic districts, which would pit two incumbents against one another in 2012.

    According to new population data unveiled Tuesday by the Census Bureau, Michigan is the only state to see no population growth over the past decade. The state’s population fell by 0.06 percent — the first and only state in the past 20 years to see a negative growth rate.

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