If it appears as though we are becoming an aging community, that should be no surprise and there is a Michigan State University study to back it.
In the last three years, the state has lost $1.9 billion in economic activity and $2.5 billion in home equity value because of declines in three-fourths of the state's counties.
Part of this problem can be blamed on the lack of jobs in this state. This goes hand-in-hand with the tax structure against businesses. Without new business coming in to replace outgoing ones, there are no reasons or jobs to keep younger people here.
We all agree that the U.P. is a great place to raise a family. The flip side is the parents have to have a job in order to survive. We can offer the best place in the world to live, but with no means for families to survive, it does not matter.
To show how this situation is impacting the state as a whole, according to a Census Bureau estimate, Michigan had about 10 million residents in 2008, about 90,000 less than it had in 2005.
The MSU report continues by explaining how the state is expected to lose 1 million jobs this decade, with most being from the auto industry.
Those in state government are going to have to start coming to grips with the problems and deal with them. This is going to include unpopular decisions, but the first is going to have to include taking a closer look at the business tax structure.
If businesses are not willing to come here, we are going to continue down a path of despair, because the population will continue to get more grey and wealth is going to decline.
To make this matter worse, we know that most retirees head south or west now. What will happen if this trend continues? It may be the last one out of the U.P. in November and December, turn out the lights and put up a sign saying "Returning in the spring."
This state, and the U.P. in particular, has plenty of potential. For this potential to be realized, though, changes need to be made, and quickly.