Census numbers released Tuesday reveal Berkley's population fell from 15,531 in 2000 to 14,970 in 2010, a decrease of 551 people, or approximately 3.6 percent of the city's population.
City Manager Jane Bais-DiSessa said that while she's disappointed in the decline, it could have been worse. Analysts had predicted an even larger population drop and many other communities saw significant declines, she said. Plus, she noted a silver lining in the figures: Compared to past census results, Berkley's population decline appears to be slowing, Bais-DiSessa said.
- The city's population fell from 16,960 in 1990 to 15,531 in 2000, an 8.4 percent decline.
- The number of residents in 1990 fell from a population of 18,637 in 1980, a dip of approximately 9 percent.
"But the bottom line is, yes, I'm disappointed we're going down," she said, speculating that smaller family sizes and the recent recession have played key roles.
"We have a lot of middle class folks who can't find manufacturing jobs," she said. "And, we have a lot of people in the construction trades. They have to go where the jobs are."
However, the city manager said she believes more young people are moving into the city, and if so, that could bode well for the future. "If these younger people start having families, it's like the whole circle of life thing and hopefully we'll start going back up," she said.
Nonetheless, she conceded the 2010 decline likely will have an impact, although she declined to comment on just how until she could analyze population characteristics to confirm her hunch the city's population is getting younger.
Beyond Berkley, the data also shows that the state's population decreased, although some counties grew in population during the past decade.
Michigan's population decreased by 0.5 percent to 9,883,640, according to census numbers, but some counties have experienced growth since 2000.
Livingston County's population increased by 15 percent, from 157,000 in 2000 to almost 181,000 in 2010. Macomb and Washtenaw counties each saw a boom of almost 7 percent, from 780,000 in 2000 to 841,000 in 2010 and 323,000 in 2000 to 345,000, respectively. The population of Oakland County saw a slight increase of 0.7 percent or 12,763 people to 1,202,362.
Wayne County was hit with a nearly 12 percent decline in residents.
It was a mixed bag for some of the state's largest communities. Rochester Hills and Dearborn saw an increase of 3.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
Farmington Hills saw a 2.9 percent decrease in residents since 2000 and St. Clair Shores showed a 5.4 percent decrease.
At 75 percent, the village of Dexter saw the largest growth rate of any community in the state during the past 10 years. It grew from 2,338 to 4,067.
"We've seen a lot of new growth in the Huron Farms, Westridge and Dexter Crossing subdivisions over the last 10 years," Assistant Village Manager Courtney Nicholls said. "I think it has to do with the fact that we're seeing more families move to Dexter looking for an urban area while still having that small town feel."
What the census data means
Whether counties and communities gained or lost population, southeast Michigan is losing political clout and federal funding, according to Xuan Liu, manager of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) data center. SEMCOG represents seven counties: St. Clair, Macomb, Oakland, Livingston, Wayne, Washtenaw and Monroe.
About $300 billion is allocated annually through the federal government, he said. "With the 2.7 percent decline we're seeing for the region, that could have a significant impact on the funding we get," he said.
Wayne County had a "much more severe" population loss than anywhere else in the region, losing 12 percent of its residents, Liu said. Having just gotten the numbers, he could not comment on race data for the region, and said income data won't be released until the end of the year.
The change in Wayne County's population was affected in large part by the change in population of the city of Detroit, which fell almost 25 percent since 2000, to 713,777.
"Detroit's population loss is the largest of any city in the past 10 years, excluding New Orleans, which was affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005," said Lisa Niedert, data services manager at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research Population Studies Center in Ann Arbor.
Erica Raleigh, a research analyst with Data Driven Detroit, said there are some bright spots for Michigan in the 2010 census data, including the large increase in Livingston County, which is part of the Detroit Combined Statistical area. "Any increase higher than 10 percent in the Detroit area is just fantastic," Raleigh said. "I'm really excited about the 15 percent increase in Livingston County. It's uplifting to know that people are moving into that area."
The state's shifting demographics
However, Michigan experienced a 3 percent decline in white population and a 1.3 percent decrease in the black population.
"Percentage-wise, there were large increases in the Asian and Hispanic populations; each gained about 35 percent," Liu said.
He said the actual numbers of those populations was smaller, so the large percentages don't necessarily mean much larger numbers. But 2010 census numbers show "the state is more diverse."
Age data is also limited to the population older than 18, because the numbers will be used for redrawing legislative boundaries. "They're only concerned about who can vote," Liu said.
Because Michigan lost population among those 18 and older, he said, the state will lose a Congressional seat.
The census is released every 10 years as a way to gauge the population across the country. The government uses the data to redraw political boundaries. It is also used to allocate federal dollars.
Demographic Changes in Past Decade
Oakland County, 2000
Oakland County, 2010
Detroit, 2000 Detroit, 2010 Michigan, 2000
15,531 14,970 1,194,156 1,202,362 951,270 713,777 9,938,444 9,883,640 Population of one race
15,293 14,701 1,171,945 1,176,032 929,229 697,877 9,746,028 9,653,321 White alone
14,923 13,960 988,194 928,912 116,599 75,758 7,966,053 7,803,120 Black or African-American alone
108 453 120,720 164,078 775,772 590,226 1,412,742 1,400,362 American Indian or Alaska Native alone
38 39 3,270 3,376 3,140 2,636 58,479 62,007 Asian alone
160 196 49,402 67,828 9,268 7,559 176,510 238,199 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone 2 13 295 254 251 129 2,692 2,604 Some other race alone 62 40 10,064 11,584 24,199 21,569 129,552 147,029 Population of two or more races 238 269 22,211 26,330 22,041 15,900 192,416 230,319 Hispanic or Latino (cultural designation, may be any race) 204 275 28,999 41,920 47,167 48,679 323,877 436,358 Age 18 or older (eligible to vote) 11,989 11,773 893,396 920,257 655,561 523,430 7,342,677 7,539,572
Source: U.S. Census Bureau