News Release: Strategy to Promote Family Life & Birth Rates in Michigan Missing from Population Council Report

MCC urges policymakers to drive population growth through pro-family policies

“Economic and social policies as well as organization of the work world should be continually evaluated in light of their impact on the strength and stability of family life.” —United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

December 14, 2023

(Lansing, Mich.) — Portions of the Growing Michigan Together Council final report issued today are welcome and deserve legislative support, however, policies that emphasize family life and encourage married couples to have and raise children in Michigan are unfortunately missing from the group’s recommendations to help grow the state’s population, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) stated after the council’s report was released to the public. The following comments may be attributed to Paul A. Long, president and CEO of MCC:

“We commend members of the council for engaging in the important task of examining our state’s ongoing struggle to grow, and for proposing broad ideas to address the problem. The council’s recommendation to widen the pool of immigrants that can apply for driver’s licenses is especially helpful as MCC has long supported this policy as a matter of human dignity. Greater access to housing for low-income families along with access to childcare are equally welcome in a state where a greater focus is needed on supporting families and young children in need.

“Unfortunately, the report issued today lacks a key piece of the bigger picture regarding what draws people to a place and keeps them there: Family.

“Making it easier to have and raise children in this state will help families already here to grow and prosper, and at the same time, attract people from other states to move to Michigan with their family or to start their family here. This was the message MCC communicated to the population council in a letter shared with the group back in October.

“Interestingly, public feedback collected by the population council reflects the importance of family in relocation decisions: Family was the reason why 45% of people who recently moved back to Michigan did so, and a survey of mostly young people living across the country confirmed that proximity to family and friends was among the top three reasons for why respondents chose the place they live.

“The final report also missed an opportunity to explore the factors driving Michigan’s historically low birth rate and put forth specific ideas to reverse that trend. It goes without saying that Michigan’s plunging birth rate does not bode well for the future. As millions of people across the state prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Michigan Catholic Conference encourages public officials to consider family life and birth rates as their north star toward sustaining and growing Michigan’s population.”

For more about MCC’s advocacy on growing Michigan’s population, click or tap here. To read the letter MCC sent to co-chairs of the council, click or tap here. To read the full report from the Growing Michigan Together Council, click or tap here.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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