Michigan’s governor Rick Snyder says he wants his state to attract more immigrants (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 18, 2012). He cited the drop in the state’s population between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses, i.e., a reduction of 54,804 residents.
He ought to look a little deeper into the Census data. The 2010 Census shows that the immigrant population increased by 64,158 residents over the decade. Therefore, the state’s entire drop in population resulted from the reduction in native-born residents. There were about 109,000 fewer native-born residents in 2010 than in 2000. Census data further show that in 2010 the number of residents who had arrived from other states in the past year numbered about 116,000 while the number of residents who had left Michigan to reside in other states in the past year numbered about 178,000 – a loss of about 62,000 residents.
Rather than trying to attract more immigrants to reside in the state, Gov. Snyder might more fruitfully examine what policies might be adopted to encourage more native-born residents to stay in the state.