SEMCOG recently adopted a new forecast of population, households, and jobs for our region and our communities to Year 2040. We forecast relatively stable population growth (1%) and slow, but steady job growth (12%) after a painful decade 2000 to 2010.
Our forecast generated a lot of despair by those who chose to be doomsayers. We’re not gaining people. We won’t replace all the jobs we lost in the last decade. We’re getting old. We’re facing “stagnation and deterioration,” said one observer.
To those doomsayers, I say go wallow in your despair. I’m not buying it.
We don’t need (we probably don’t want) a great influx of additional population. Let’s create the high quality-of-life amenities for the people we do have…good roads, improved transit, good schools, access to our abundant natural resources, quality and affordable housing, and government services second to none. Let’s give our young people choices for well-paying jobs available as a result of job growth and us baby boomers moving on to enjoy retirement…well-paying jobs to support themselves and their families. And, for those of us getting up in our years (one in four of us will be over age 65), let us enjoy retirement here, because we want to retire here…our communities have everything we need and want.
Yes, I see a different future for Southeast Michigan than the doomsayers have chosen to interpret from our forecasts. I’m betting on my future…one in which I will enjoy retirement here, one in which my daughters will prosper, and one in which my grandchildren will thrive.
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