Editor’s note: The Center continues a series of comments from Kurt Metzger of Data Driven Detroit on what the 2010 census results mean for Michigan today, and tomorrow. Metzger worked for the U.S. Census Bureau for 15 years and has been studying demographic data and issues in Michigan for three decades.
The 2010 census results continue to dribble out. May brought the first, limited look at who we Michiganders are — beyond our basic race and ethnic origin — at the state, county and community levels. July will bring more detailed demographics at these geographic levels and the capacity to drill down to the neighborhood level.
Right now, let’s take a look at what the trends are showing for Michigan.
The release of the redistricting file in March showed that diversity in Michigan was increasing. While the white, non-Hispanic population was decreasing by 3 percent, the Asian and Latino populations had grown by 34.9 percent and 34.7 percent, respectively. African Americans decreased in number by 1.3 percent, while Native Americans grew by 2.3 percent and multi-race respondents increased their number by 16.5 percent. The overall result was a drop in the white majority from 78.6 percent of Michigan’s population in 2000 to 76.6 percent in 2010.
The latest release provides a little more depth to these numbers. We see that Asian Indians continue to be the fastest-growing group, increasing by 41 percent and representing just under 1/3 of all Asians in the state.
Within the Latino population, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans increased their numbers by about 40 percent. Nevertheless, Mexicans accounted for 73 percent of all Latinos in the state. Finally, the increase in multi-race respondents was due to large increases in persons identifying as white and African American (104 percent) and white and Asian (85 percent).
We also have our first glimpse at Michigan’s age structure. Population estimates have shown the aging of the population and sparked discussions around the retention or out-migration of our younger college graduates. The 2010 Census results confirm the aging of the population (Michigan’s median age increased from 35.5 to 38.9 years of age) and demonstrate population loss in every 5-year age cohort from 25 through 44 years of age. (See Table 1 at right)
While part of this phenomenon is demographic – smaller cohorts moving into those ages – and repeated in other states, Michigan’s low representation of these groups as a share of the total is problematic.
Let us take Arizona, a fast-growing population state, to illustrate this. Each of the age cohorts lost “market share” as a percent of the total population, but their shares were, on average, a percentage point higher than Michigan. Thus, when one compares, Michigan falls behind in its share of 25-44 year olds at 24.7 percent. Arizona is at 26.3 percent, North Carolina 27 percent and Georgia 28.25 percent. Even Ohio (25 percent) and Florida (25.2 percent) exceed Michigan.
Decreasing cohorts below 15 years of age can be attributed to the decrease in births that has been occurring since 1990, exacerbated by the outflow of younger families and persons in their child-bearing years searching for job opportunities.
By contrast, growth was experienced by every age cohort above 45 years of age, with the exception of the lower birth period of the World War II era.
Table 2, at right, illustrates the population distribution by age and gender. One can readily see which age cohorts have the highest representation in the population and how the share of women increases with increasing age.
Another illustration of the dramatic changes taking place in the age structure of Michigan is the fact that households containing children (less than 18 years) decreased by 9.1 percent over the decade, while those with elderly (65 years and over) increased by 14.2 percent.
The 2010 census included just 10 questions, resulting in very little detail. We have addressed age, race and gender to this point. By the way, the male population in Michigan dropped by 0.5 percent over the decade, while the female population declined by 0.6 percent. Females still represented 50.9 percent of the total population, down slightly from 51 percent in 2000. While females account for only 48.8 percent of the population less than 18 years of age, they are 56.9 percent of the population 65 years and over.
In addition to two housing questions, which we will tackle shortly, the census also addressed relationships among members of a household. This allows us to look at household type – families and non-families – and to understand the myriad relationships in the American household of 2010. While total households increased by 2.3 percent, family households decreased by 0.8 percent. The biggest drop occurred in the married-couple category (-4.7 percent), which saw its majority status of 51.4 percent of all 2000 households drop to 48 percent in 2010 (this phenomenon occurred for the nation as a whole — see http://detroitdataguru.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/married-households-no-longer-rule-the-roost/).
Husband-wife families with their own children fell by 16.3 percent. Single-parent households experienced gains – particularly single male householders with their own children – up 14.5 percent. Nevertheless, female-headed single-parent families were three times as prevalent as male-headed ones.
Non-family households increased by 9 percent, driven primarily by the increase in single-person households. As young men and women continue to stretch out their age for first marriage, even though many are living together (sometimes identified as unmarried partners) or having to head back to their parents’ home for economic reasons, they increase the numbers living alone in both rental and home ownership situations. A deeper look at the numbers also reveals that more men 65 years and over are living alone – up 31 percent over the decade. Since we saw that women represent almost 57 percent of the elderly population, it is no surprise that they also account for 71 percent of the elderly living alone.
One last household characteristic of note is the increase in number of “unmarried partner” households. The next data release will help us understand the components of these households in terms of gender – are they comprised of opposite sex or same sex partners?
The census also counts those not living in households, but rather in institutional and non-institutional group quarters arrangements. The census found that Michigan’s group quarters population dropped by 20,000, or 8.3 percent, over the decade. The largest category of decrease was “institutionalized females,” down by 10,000 or 23.8 percent.
Finally, we take a look at the meager information that the census collected on housing. First we notice that a 7 percent overall increase in housing units was heavily weighted to the vacant side. While occupied units increased by 2.3 percent, the economy that drove people to migrate out of the state without selling or renting, coupled with the large number of foreclosures, resulted in an increase of 47 percent in vacant units. In addition to the vacancy increase, we find that homeownership decreased as a share of occupancy from 73.8 percent to 72.1 percent, not so much because rental housing was being built in large numbers, but, rather, because decreasing housing value and lack of housing demand was making it economically impractical to sell – thus turning owner-occupied units to rentals.