SWMI population decline continues, Kinexus Group suggests solutions


The team at Kinexus Group is assessing the most recent “Annual Estimate of the Resident Population report produced by the U.S. Census Bureau as Berrien County continues to fuel regional population loss.

The “Vintage 2023 Population Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau” shows that the population in Berrien, Cass, Van Buren (BCVB) shrank by 0.1% in 2023, equivalent to the loss of 280 residents. By comparison, Michigan’s population held relatively steady and the U.S.’ grew.

“Berrien County has seen a decline as its population losses are the 7th largest out of all 83 Michigan counties since 2020. Cass and Van Buren counties have both seen modest population gains, however, all three counties are seeing fewer births than deaths owing to our older population,” said Ryan Thyfault, Data Resource Manager at Kinexus Group.

This information is not surprising to the team at Kinexus Group, who has been monitoring what they call “the big three” for years now as part of their statewide workforce development and economic development efforts.

“We know that BCVB and the state of Michigan are experiencing some challenges. Namely, the big three issues that are impacting our region are that our workforce is aging, individuals are generally less educated, and our population is shrinking,” said Ryan Thyfault, Data Resource Manager at Kinexus Group. “This data is telling us that we need to place an even stronger emphasis on attracting new talent, as well as, developing and retaining our existing workforce, especially on a regional level.”

Since 2020, BCVB’s population has shrunk by 0.6% with the loss of 1,799 residents. This also compares unfavorably to Michigan (which only shrank by 0.4%) and the U.S. (which grew by 1%).

To learn more, view the Population and Housing Unit Estimates Datasets here.


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