Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Did people finally move into Wisconsin for 2022? And other population notes

The US Census Bureau recently released their population estimates for each US state for 2022, and it continues a trend where more Americans kept moving to the South, and to the Rocky Mountain states.

In fact, population growth in the South for 2022 was larger than the estimated 1.26 million increase in population that the Census Bureau says the US had as a whole.
The South, the most populous region with a resident population of 128,716,192, was the fastest-growing and the largest-gaining region last year, increasing by 1.1%, or 1,370,163. Positive net domestic migration (867,935) and net international migration (414,740) were the components with the largest contributions to this growth, adding a combined 1,282,675 residents.

The West was the only other region to experience growth in 2022, having gained 153,601 residents — an annual increase of 0.2% for a total resident population of 78,743,364 — despite losing 233,150 residents via net domestic migration (the difference between residents moving in and out of an area). Natural increase (154,405) largely accounted for the growth in the West.

The Northeast, with a population of 57,040,406, and the Midwest, with a population of 68,787,595, lost 218,851 (-0.4%) and 48,910 (-0.1%) residents, respectively. The declines in these regions were due to negative net domestic migration. 
However, you'll notice that Wisconsin was not one of those states who lost people in 2022. And the apparent reason for that gain is even better news for our state.

Nice to hear, although Wisconsin's gain of 7,657 people from other states comes after losing more than 18,900 people to the rest of America in 2021.

Wisconsin also gained more than 8,100 people from immigration, and overall gained back most of the population we lost after the April 2020 Census, unlike Michigan and Ohio.

(NOTE: Illinois is down more 230,000 people in the same time period, and is not shown here because it throws off the chart. They are their own category in a lot of ways when it comes to population trends in both the Midwest and America).

Where Wisconsin continued to struggle is in "natural change" of population. For the second straight year, Wisconsin had more deaths that births in the state (1,798 in 2021 and 1,758 in 2022), while Minnesota and Illinois gained under this measure. But hey, at least we're not Michigan or Ohio!

Those unfavorable demographics are why Wisconsin is going to need to attract younger workers to our state, if we want to reverse the "natural loss". And sorry WisGOP, but backwards social policies, defunding community schools and offering low wages aren't going to cut it.

And while it is nice to see Wisconsin's population bounce back from the losses of 2021, there is a long way to climb back, given the high number of people who moved out in the 2010s. It requires long-term solutions without game-playing, in order to get the work force and families that we need to reverse the stagnation that has afflicted much of this state for the last 12 years.

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