IRS Tax returns show Wayne County nets population gain

At first glance of filed 2012-13 IRS tax returns, it appears that, combined, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties gained about 5,500 residents. However, a deeper look into this information shows that majority of those leaving one county for another are actually just moving over the county line. Of the three counties, Wayne County was the only one to experience a net gain, while Oakland County was nearly equal in the number of residents leaving and moving in and Macomb County experienced a net loss.

The information provided in this post is from 2012-13 filed IRS tax returns.

Wayne County In Migration

Wayne County Out Migration

According to the 2012-13 tax returns, Wayne County lost 26,264 residents and gained 34,320, for a total net gain of 8,056. Former Oakland County residents were responsible for majority of the gain at 10,402, followed by Macomb County residents at 6,625 and Washtenaw County at 2,225. From out of state, Illinois’ Cook County (where Chicago is located) contributed the most number of new residents to Wayne County at 449.

While Wayne County gained the most number of Oakland County residents, it also lost majority of its residents to Oakland County as well. Wayne County lost 8,074 to Oakland County. Macomb County gained the second largest number of former Wayne County residents at 4,407. Outside of Michigan Cook County, Illinois gained the largest number of Wayne County residents at 355. Other counties across the country that gained more than 100 Wayne County residents were Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas area, 126 people), Los Angeles County, California (172), San Diego County, California (138), Broward County, Florida (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami metropolitan area, 113) and Maricopa, Arizona (Phoenix area, 211 former Wayne County residents).

Oakland County in migration

Oakland County out migration

Oakland County lost nearly as many residents as it gained in 2012, according to the 2012-13 tax returns. According to the data, there were 29,124 tax returns filed by new Oakland County residents and 30,001 filed by former Oakland County residents. Of those that left, Wayne County received the most at 10,402, followed by Macomb County at 5,499. In terms of out-of-state migration, Cook County again received the highest number of residents at 600. Additionally, Los Angeles County, California (251) and Maricopa County, Arizona (214) also received a high number of residents from Southeastern Michigan. While Oakland and Wayne County residents had similar migration patterns when they left Michigan, we do see that there was a greater presence of Oakland County residents in northern California and Oregon.

Of the 29,124 residents gained in Oakland County, former Wayne County residents contributed to about a third of that number (8,074) and Macomb County residents contributed and additional 5,688 residents. From out of state, there were 592 former Cook County, Illinois residents who moved to Oakland County.

Macomb County in migration


According to 2012-13 filed tax returns Macomb County had a net loss of 1,452 residents, with 15,925 new tax returns being filed for the county and 17,377 being filed by former residents. Wayne County received the highest number of former Macomb County residents at 6,625, followed by Oakland County at 5,668. Cook County, Illinois and Maricopa, Arizona were the only two counties outside of Michigan to receive more than 100 former Macomb County residents (140 and 129, respectively).

Macomb County gained more Oakland County residents than Wayne County residents, according to 2012-13 filed tax returns. During this time period 5,499 former Oakland County residents relocated to Macomb County and 4,409 former Wayne County residents relocated there. From outside of Michigan, Maricopa County, Arizona contributed the most number of residents at 160, followed by 145 Cook County, Illinois. Macomb County experienced a net gain of residents from both Maricopa County, Arizona and Cook County, Illinois.

While majority of the migration within the tri-county region took place between neighboring counties, the 2012-13 tax returns do show that Michiganders were leaving the state, particularly to places like Arizona, Florida, California and Illinois. However, the information also shows that there was out-of-state migration in the tri-county region at that time too, and in some cases it meant there was a net gain.

Next week, we will examine migration patterns for the remaining counties that make up Southeastern Michigan.