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Livingston County’s population growth rate predicted to top Southeast Michigan through 2050

Livingston County’s population growth is projected to lead Southeast Michigan over the next three decades, as will housing and employment increases.

That’s according to a draft summary of a 2050 Forecast by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) that was presented Monday during an Open House at the Green Oak Township Hall.

Xuan Liu, SEMCOG Director of Research

That summary shows a nearly 23% increase in the projected population for Livingston County by 2050. According to the 2020 Census, the county’s population was 193,866 people. By 2050, SEMCOG predicts an increase of 44,385 people to 238,251. That 22.9% increase is almost double the next highest growth rate of 13.9% expected in Washtenaw County.

Within the county, Handy Township is projected to see the largest rate of population growth; 45.4% in the next three decades, going from 5,651 residents in 2020 to 8,218 by 2050.

The next fastest communities are expected to be Howell Township at 36.9%, Genoa Township with 34.9%, Green Oak Township at 33.7% and Oceola Township rounding out the top five with a 33.2% increase by 2050.

The report says the City of Brighton will see a 31% increase in residents by 2050, while the City of Howell will only grow by 7.2%.

Iosco Township is the only municipality that expected to see a decrease in Livingston County, going from 3,870 residents in 2020 to 3,842 by 2050, a 0.7% drop that equates to 28 less people.

Commensurate with that overall population growth, SEMCOG predicts a 23.8% increase in households across Livingston County, going from 74,264 in 2020 to 91,926 by 2050 and a workforce increase from 86,166 to 108,601 by 2050, a 26% increase. Again, both of those rates top the seven counties that make up SEMCOG; Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne.

According to a summary document, SEMCOG’s General Assembly reviewed a set of regional forecast totals of population, households, and jobs in October of 2022, with modest population growth expected to continue across the region, with a 6.4% increase in population between 2020 and 2050 in the seven counties.

“Population change will significantly influence the trajectory of our economic growth,” stated SEMCOG’s website. “The labor shortage problem will persist due to low population growth and an aging population. Population natural growth will become negative after 2043, meaning more deaths than births. It is also questionable if migration can return to the pre-pandemic level. Labor force growth, or the lack thereof, will continue to set the speed limit for economic growth.”

This week’s meeting was part of a SEMCOG process of allocating the regional forecast numbers to local units of government based on several years’ worth of data collection, analysis, and input from local officials.

“In the spring 2022, SEMCOG staff met with interested officials from nearly 150 communities to review the 20 forecast process and obtain expectations for future growth over the forecast period, including collect information on developments in the planning pipeline to make sure these are represented in forecast,” the release said. “The next step in our process is to present the preliminary results of those efforts, the DRAFT SEMCOG 2050 Forecast for each city, township, and village in Southeast Michigan.”

SEMCOG’s policy body is expected to act on approving a new 2050 forecast on February 24, 2023.

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