Saturday, May 17, 2014

How the U.P. can fight population decline and foster economic development

Like many rural areas, the U.P. has struggled with population decline for decades. We explore what cities, state agencies, development groups and entrepreneurs are doing to lessen its impact and create new opportunities. 
The 2010 census confirmed what leaders across the U.P. already know: the region, like many rural areas, continues to lose population. The trend is partly due to the U.P.'s demographics, which skew older than the country's urban areas, and partly due to residual effects from the loss of major employers like K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base. It's likely to persist for the foreseeable future, whether due to the apparent final closing of the Empire Mine in Marquette County or the potential loss of a lucrative military contract at Marinette Marine, which would affect Menominee County.

But the U.P. has a bounty of natural--beyond traditional resources like timber and iron ore--and human assets that have yet to be tapped. So what are the region's business leaders, economic development authorities, local governments, and tourism agencies doing to stem the negative effects of population decline and attract or retain residents? More than you might think. More here.

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