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U-Haul study shows people leaving Michigan, not coming in

U-Haul International/PR Newswire

Michigan ranks at the bottom for growth in a new study by moving company U-Haul. West Michigan leaders say those numbers look better broken down by region.

When it comes to growth in population, Michigan ranks 46th in U-Haul’s latest study of one-way rentals across the US and Canada. It isn’t an exact measure of economic growth but does gauge how well areas are attracting and maintaining residents.

Michigan’s current rank of 46 is up from last year’s at 48.

President and CEO of The Right Place Randy Thelen says looking at the index by region, West Michigan fared better than the state.

“Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Walker, Wyoming, Holland, Rockford, Kalamazoo – were all recognized as net positive in these U-Haul numbers.”

Thelen says population growth has largely been driven by colleges and universities. Graduates tend to stay thanks to the dynamic business environment, and variety of lifestyle options West Michigan offers – urban, suburban or lakeshore.

“If you think of New York, and LA, and San Francisco as Tier 1. You think of Nashville, Denver, Austin as Tier 2. Greater Grand Rapids – we’re right there next in line. And coming out of Covid, where people are looking to have more quality of life and more time with their families, Tier 3 markets like ours offer that.”

At the top of U-Haul’s list: Texas and Florida. Dead last is California with New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts joining Michigan in the bottom five.

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