State Population Loss Hurts Human Services, Other Fed Funds

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

The 2010 Census numbers were released Tuesday, leaving the state of Michigan checking its math.

"We had anticipated a slight increase in population," Kurt Weiss spokesman for the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. "We thought we'd have just a slight uptick."

But it's quiet the opposite. In fact, Michigan actually lost population - about 60,000 people to be exact - the only state in the union to do so.

"For every person in the state, that's equal to $1,000 in federal funding," he said.

Which means everything the government fits the bill for, from medicaid, to education, to highway road projects, could lose federal dollars, which will have a decade-long impact here at home.

"There are about 140 federal programs that use census numbers to determine how much money is going to go to the states," Karen Holcumb-Merrill said.

Holcumb-Merrill of the Michigan League for Human Services said this is not a good time for cuts to programs. With unemployment rate among other things, the need in this state is as high as ever.

"If you are someone on Medicaid or if you have a child in a Head Start program, it's very likely you will be impacted by the news today," she said.

Weiss said it's important to put it all into perspective. After a decade-long recession in Michigan, these numbers could be a lot worse.

"It is what it is, there's nothing we can do about it at this point," Weiss said. "It will be a significant funding loss, but it's nothing we can't overcome."

It's still too soon to know exactly how much Michigan will lose and at what time.

For some perspective, in 2008, Michigan took in $16 billion in federal funding tied to Census numbers.


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