Slow growth, fewer jobs

Michigan State Roundup

Published July 1, 2001  | July 2001 issue

The 2000 Census showed a slower-growing population and decreased number of jobs in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.). The U.P.'s 15 counties grew by 1.2 percent, compared with the state's growth rate of 6.9 percent. Down 6,253 residents since 1990, Marquette County had the U.P.'s lowest growth, at a negative 8.8 percent.

According to a state demographer, an explanation for the slow growth is that the U.P. has an older age distribution than the rest of the state, which means a higher death rate and lower birth rate. Marquette County's loss can be partially blamed on the closure of the K.I. Sawyer Air Force base in 1995, causing several thousand military personnel and their families to relocate. In the western U.P., the 1,100 layoffs in mining and lumber industries had the greatest impact.

To counteract the slow growth, communities continue their efforts to attract more businesses and industries. The Upper Peninsula Economic Developers Alliance was recently formed to market the area and has received $100,000 in grants from the Michigan Economic Developers Alliance.

Rosie Cataldo