SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Michigan and much of the Midwest did not come out on top during last week’s census announcement.
Population trends revealed that people moved south and west to some of America’s warmer states.
According to the report, Michigan did gain population and eclipsed 10 million, however, it wasn’t enough to hold off growth among other states like Texas, Florida, and North Carolina.
Congressman Andy Levin, A Democrat representing parts of southern Oakland County said despite losses in the U.S. House and the Electoral College, he’s still confident Michigan can rebound.
“I’m looking at it as super hopeful,” said Levin. “Look at what we’re learning from global warming. Michigan is a temperate place, great access to fresh water, not a lot of hurricanes, hopefully not a lot of forest fires and all that.”
Geography may become a growing factor for some people deciding where to live in the future. Michigan has mild weather conditions and the surrounding Great Lakes help moderate some of the extremes that have stirred drought in the southwest and worsened the effects of hurricanes in the southeast.
The availability of fresh water supplied by the Great Lakes is another concern that much of the Midwest won’t have in the years to come.
“I think we’re going to be a very attractive place. I want to focus on growing our state so not only do we not lose a seat, we can start to gain again,” said Levin.
But it’s going to take more than mild temperatures and a pretty backdrop to encourage more people to come to Michigan.
Among the more pressing concerns inhibiting businesses and people from moving into the state is the lack of public transportation that other cities now use.
“If we innovate, if we get a mass transit system in Metro Detroit, that will be key because young people want to be in a place where there’s transit,” said Levin.
Some of these pieces are already moving. A proposed passenger train that would go between Ann Arbor and Traverse City would carry people from the metro area through mid-Michigan and up to the tourist destination.
There were also plans for a self-driving corridor between Ann Arbor and Detroit that were announced last year. The autonomous vehicle corridor would cater to the evolving auto market.