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Old Posted Apr 27, 2009, 6:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ColDayMan View Post
...while Michigan is Indiana with Minnesota traits

BTW, in an issue that goes along with this, a Detroit Free Press article from yesterday took another look at the so-called brain drain. The title is a bit deceptive, because the article seems to show it's vastly overstated, but I thought I'd post it as it relates to the issue:


Fewer college grads moving to Michigan, demographer finds


Michigan's "brain drain" isn't as bad as it might seem.

That's the opinion of state demographer Ken Darga, the state's leading authority on Michigan's population by the numbers. He said Michigan has retained college graduates better than most states, even as the recession worsened.

But since 2004, far fewer young college grads from other states have moved to Michigan than in previous years, creating a net loss. The number of those leaving Michigan actually has leveled off.

"The brain drain is a very serious concern," Darga said. "The big misunderstanding is that it's a chronic problem. It's not a chronic problem. It's a fairly recent development."

Still, the net decline in recent college graduates making Michigan their home worries Lansing's policymakers, as the unemployment rate soars and the Detroit Three automakers limp along.

It's among the many population trends Darga studies. As Michigan's top liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau, Darga helps the bureau get Michigan's population numbers right.

The 57-year-old Detroit native and University of Michigan graduate has been state demographer since 1991.

This week, Darga and fellow state demographers convene in Detroit for the latest on population facts, figures and counting methods.

Darga said for every person counted in the census the state receives about $1,000 in federal aid. He once found that Macomb County's population was undercounted by 50,000 because of a census mix-up over ZIP codes. Now, Darga wants to prove that the U.S. Census undercounts Michigan residents who live part of the year in other states, such as snowbirds who spend winters in southern states.

Darga -- who says he even dreams about numbers -- said the state must count 90,000 more residents than the 2008 census bureau Michigan estimate to avoid losing one of its 15 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

He said if Michigan residents get their census form in another state, they should not fill it out, but rather write "usual residence elsewhere" on it and mail it back.

"When they get back to Michigan, there will be a form waiting for them at their house," he said.

Darga said other states will become less attractive to college graduates as their unemployment rates rise. He said about 60% of young college graduates born in Michigan still live here.

When foreign-born residents with college degrees are counted, Michigan looks even better. (Michigan has a higher percentage of foreign-born residents with college degrees than the national average.)

In January 2008, Michigan's unemployment rate was around 6.5%; now it's 12.6%. Now, 39 states' unemployment rates top 6.5%.

"There's coming to be less migration from one state to another," Darga said. "That also happened during the Great Depression. What migration there was was people returning home."

For up-to-date census information, visit

Contact CHRIS CHRISTOFF: 517-372-8660 or
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