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Population is on the Rise in Macomb County

Included in the growth of Macomb County’s population to 867,730, the number of people living in the county increased from 2015 to last July by 3,223. Whether the new residents had previously heard of the “Make Macomb Your Home” marketing slogan touted by County Executive Mark Hackel and his administration, the increase is good news.

“They wouldn’t come here if they didn’t feel welcome,” Hackel said when reached for comment about the county’s population numbers. “There’s something for everyone; housing for everyone’s level.”

With unemployment in Macomb County at 3.9 percent, Hackel noted the number of employed individuals is at its highest level in several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 417,047 residents of Macomb County were employed in April. That’s the most employed residents since November 2000.

“We’re gaining. We’re thriving. We’re going rather wall,” he added.

Refugees and immigrants moving to Sterling Heights, Warren and Clinton Township are a driving force in the county’s changing population and ethnic makeup. The growth in foreign-born population accounted for 12.2 percent of overall growth in the county between 2009 and 2014.

With the overall population on the rise comes challenges.

Hackel pointed out that Macomb and other counties in southeast Michigan have poor roads that urgently need replacement or repair.

“Whose responsibility is it to fix it? No question, it’s the Legislature,” Hackel said.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the 15 Mile Road sewer in Fraser –- and the $75 million estimated cost to repair the 11-foot diameter line that handles raw sewage from 11 communities –- he said local officials need to conduct a thorough review of infrastructure beneath the surface, like water and sewer lines, to identify looming problems.

“Not just roads,” Hackel added.

Of the 83 counties in Michigan, 28 did not experience an overall net loss in population since the 2010 Census.

Macomb County was 10th among the fastest growing counties in state in terms of percentage, figures show. The top three were Ottawa County, 6.42 percent; Kent County, 6.1 percent; and Grand Traverse County, 5.54 percent. Neighboring Oakland County was eighth, at 3.41 percent.

In terms of new people, Macomb County was No. 3 among Michigan counties, topped only by Oakland, which has 41,020 more than seven years ago; and Kent County, with 39,162 more. Following Macomb County in the rankings was Washtenaw County (19,141) and Ottawa County (18,108).

Eight of 27 communities in Macomb County outpaced the county’s 3.2 percent growth in residents from 2010 to 2016.

Twenty of 27 Macomb County communities grew faster — by percentage –- than Michigan’s 0.51 percent increase in population.


In Oakland County, Lyon Township had the largest population growth in terms of percent, increasing by 23.3 percent from 2010 to 2016. Oakland Township ranked second, at 11 percent, followed by Orion Township at 7.6 percent. In terms of numbers of actual residents, Novi had the largest net increase in the county.

No Oakland County communities had fewer residents in 2016 compared to 2010, but Farmington Hills, Pontiac and Hazel Park lost population from 2015 to 2016.

Overall, Oakland and Macomb counties gained population year over year since the 2010 Census.

“In Macomb, it’s the growth in the outlying townships with room to grow. Shelby, Clinton, Macomb townships all continue to feed the growth,” said Kurt Metzger, director emeritus for Data Driven Detroit, which examined the population numbers for The Macomb Daily and Digital First Media.

Wayne County, led by the continued declines in Detroit and some older communities, lost population.

“Detroit is the only city on the top 25 that has lost population in the last six years,” said demographer Metzger. “There’s a lot of housing that has come on since, or is getting ready to come on. Most of the people living in Detroit are one-person or two-person households.”

Wayne County lost 71,218 people since 2010. Detroit’s loss was 40,982, including more than 3,500 from 2015 to 2016.

“Detroit dropped to 23rd largest in the country,” Metzger said. “Chicago was the biggest (population loser), followed by Baltimore and Milwaukee.

“All the cities in Wayne County kind of tanked,” he said. “The only real gainers in Wayne County were Brownstown Township, Canton Township, and Plymouth. Northville City and township dropped a little bit. Dearborn is pretty well built up. There’s not that much housing being built.”

Digital First Media reporter Andrea Peck contributed to this report.

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