Michigan is tops in 1-year population loss; Ohio growth sluggish


COLUMBUS — The final population estimates released before the 2010 U.S. Census recount showed economically drowning Michigan with the biggest exodus of people over the last year.

Ohio's population growth was among the most sluggish in the nation and, like most of the Midwest, stands to lose representation in Congress, have less say in the election of the next president, and find itself on the losing end of population-based formulas that drive the distribution of some $300 billion in federal subsidies a year.

"We are focused now on ensuring we get a complete and accurate count in 2010," U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said Wednesday. "The census counts will not only determine how many U.S. House seats each state will have but will also be used as the benchmark for future population estimates."

The annual marking of population trends was built on the last complete U.S. Census of 2000, updated with state birth and death figures, data on domestic migration gleaned primarily from tax return filings, and international migration numbers.

Ohio's estimated population as of July 1, 2009 was 11,542,645, up 14,573 people from last year and 189,505 since the last U.S. Census survey was completed in 2000.

In a single year, Michigan lost 0.33 percent of its population, the largest drop in the nation and one of just three states to experience any loss during the period. Maine and Rhode Island were the others.

Michigan fell below the 10 million mark for the first time since 2001, dropping to 9,969,727. That's a one-year exodus of 32,759 people, although the state's population is still 31,283 higher than the official U.S. Census recount released in April, 2000.

The state stands to lose one of its 15 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Earlier this year, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland established a team led by Treasurer Kevin Boyce to work toward getting as many of Ohio's residents counted next year as possible. The state expects to lose one of its 18 seats in the U.S. House and hopes a more accurate count will stave off the loss of a second.

Each decade following a Census recount, the 435 seats in the U.S. House are reapportioned among states as rapid-growth states like Texas and California benefit politically from stagnant growth or population losses in the Midwest and rust-belt East.

According to data released Wednesday, Texas gained more people than any other state, picking up nearly half a million people between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2009. It was followed by California, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Despite its own economic woes, California remains the most populated state with 37 million people.