While population declines were the mostly the rule, according to U.S. Census data released last week, many metro Detroit communities are using news of their population gains to lure business and attract more residents.
Sterling Heights, Macomb County's second largest city and the state's fourth largest, and Rochester, one of the fastest growing cities in Michigan and Oakland County's fastest with an increase of 21.4 percent from 2000-2010, have already hailed their growth as harbingers of future prosperity.
Rochester officials are calling their population jump from 10,439 in 2000 to 12,711 in 2010 evidence that a formula of mixed housing options, a vibrant downtown, access to trails and water and a solid commercial base has worked and is reason to show other prospective businesses and residents that the city is on solid ground and poised for economic prosperity.
Sterling Heights, which grew 4.2 percent from 124,471 in 2000 to 129,699, in 2010, is spreading word about how it got here.
"Sterling Heights is known as one of the safest cities in America," Mayor Richard Notte says. "Businesses have seen fit to reinvest, build and relocate in our city, as witnessed by $1 billion in development over the past year. Sterling Heights is still experiencing a strong housing market with two residential developments in full swing. And finally, residents choose the city because of our excellent public school systems and proximity to world-class higher education opportunities."
Other population gainers include Birmingham, Dearborn, Macomb Township, Brownstown Township, and Romulus. Losers include Royal Oak, Pontiac, Ferndale, Warren, Mt. Clemens and Livonia.
Overall, Southeast Michigan lost 2.7 percent of its population, dropping from 4,833,368 in 2000 to 4,704,743 in 2010. However, the number of households remained nearly the same.
A large part of the loss is due to a 25 percent population decline in Detroit. According to SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
, population of many of the nations' cities declined. However, many of those same urban centers are experiencing an economic rebirth, according to SEMCOG.
Wayne County, Michigan's most populous county with 1.8 million people, lost 11.7 percent of its residents. Its neighbors in the tri-county area, Macomb and Oakland, saw population gains. SEMCOG's Southeast Michigan figures cover seven counties in addition to these three: Livingston, Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw.
In metro Detroit, Oakland County came up with a 0.7 percent increase in the 10-year span while Macomb registered a 6.7 percent gain.
Whether the population gains were minimal or substantial, communities are celebrating the upticks and awaiting anxiously a demographic breakdown, namely age groups which point to a community's attractiveness and chance for thriving. Those numbers will be released by the U.S. Census Bureau
this summer.Source: SEMCOG, city of Sterling Heights and Mayor Richard Notte, Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino
Writer: Kim North Shine