After six months of investigation and debate, the Growing Michigan Together Council, which was established by Gov. Whitmer in June 2023 to help “develop a long-term vision that addresses current and future challenges” and prepare Michigan for future success, has released its first report highlighting population decline in the state and offering strategies on how to reverse the trend.
In the report, which was released on Dec. 14, 2023, the 27-member council determined that Michigan is 49th in the country for population growth, pointing to “decades of apathy, structural deficiencies, and the lack of political cohesion” as driving factors.
It adds that our state is “lagging in median income, educational outcomes, and attainment and have fallen behind faster-growing peer states in key measures of infrastructure, community well-being, and job opportunities,” causing Michigan to lose more young residents than it attracts. As a result, the population of the state is aging faster than our neighbors.
While Michigan isn’t the only state facing such challenges, according to the report, it is the only one taking them head on, with the council setting goals to improve transportation, infrastructure, education, housing, and more to make Michigan a top-10 state for population growth by 2050.
To help reach this goal, the council has outlined the following three interwoven strategies:
- Develop an economic plan that would establish Michigan as the “Innovation Hub of the Midwest” and “America’s Scale-up State,” and create targeted efforts to attract and retain young people.
- Commit to the Michigan Education Guarantee to ensure all students develop future-ready skills; reimagine the structure of the school day; make postsecondary education more attainable by providing two years of free postsecondary education to all students; and create an equitable lifelong learning system.
- Develop a robust regional public transportation system, revitalize the housing market, and future-proof the infrastructure.
“We believe that implementation of our report means the worst of Michigan’s days are behind us and that we will step into a more prosperous future for all Michiganders,” the council wrote in the report.
“We trust that our work will result in people choosing Michigan to build their lives and raise their families. We call on the governor and legislature and the people of Michigan to take action. The stakes have never been higher.”