It’s no secret that Michigan’s population has been decreasing over the past several years. With one of the worst economies in the country, cities that were once bustling are simply running out of people. The decline in residents were confirmed by the results of the 2010 United States Census. While it’s understandable that people are leaving the state because they need to support themselves and their families, the aftermath has caused a serious problem for the state: the loss of a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Michigan needs to quickly begin the process of rebuilding its population to regain its seat in Congress.

According to a Jan. 7 Daily article, Michigan will lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 because of population decreases. The 2010 U.S. Census concluded that in the last decade, Michigan’s population dropped by nearly 1 million people — or o.6 percent. In this census, Michigan had the largest population decrease of any state in the country. The loss of a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives will leave Michigan with 14 seats. The Census results also impact the amount of federal funding the state receives from Washington — a number that will also decrease in light of the drop in population.

Losing a seat in the House is a huge loss for the state. The number of representatives determines how many people are in Washington campaigning for Michigan and its needs. With one less representative at work for us, the state will not have the same ability to impact votes and push issues. Additionally, having one less person will undeniably result in decreased federal funding for the state. And those funds are an integral component in rebuilding Michigan’s economy and infrastructure. Michigan needs to work to regain its lost seat in order to ensure that representatives have solidified support in Washington.

Equally unfortunate as the decline in representation is the decrease in federal funding. Population and the number of House representatives are major factors in determining how much money is allotted to a state. The decrease in both will make it difficult for our already cash-strapped state to have money to put toward sectors like public transportation and education. It’s likely that students at the University — and public universities throughout the state — will notice this loss of funding.

One of the best ways to combat this problem is for Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to help the state develop new, innovative job markets that will draw people back to Michigan. Once people are ensured that they can find work in Michigan, they will begin to return to the state. But in order to expand businesses, there needs to be people to work the jobs and purchase the products. This means that people need to be attracted to the state by more than job prospects. Improvements to public education and special attention to environmental issues will help to bring people to Michigan and regain lost representation and funding.

Between the Great Lakes and once thriving cities — like Detroit — Michigan is an exceptional place to live. But if people can’t support themselves here they will understandably leave. The state government needs to work to create jobs and bring people back to Michigan.

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