People walk through downtown St. Joseph during lunchtime on Friday. According to U.S. Census data released this week, St. Joseph lost about 6.1 percent, while Berrien County as a whole saw a loss of about 1.6 percent between 2010 and 2020.

Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties all lost a small portion of their population over the last 10 years, according to U.S. Census data released this week.

Various statewide news organizations have republished this data into searchable databases, including Bridge Michigan. On their site, the public can explore the census data by searching by county, city, township or village.

Berrien County saw a loss of about 2,497 residents between 2010 and 2020. That’s a population loss of about 1.6 percent. In total, the county has about 154,316 residents.

Cass County lost about 704 residents or about 1.3 percent of its population. In total, the county has about 51,589 residents.

Van Buren County produced a loss of about 671 residents, or about 0.9 percent of its population. In total, the county has about 75,587 residents.

Areas in the tri-county area that saw the most percentage loss were Hagar Township (-11.7 percent), Eau Claire (-11.7 percent) and Chikaming Township (-10.4 percent) in Berrien County; Covert Township (-13.1 percent) and South Haven (-10 percent) in Van Buren County; and Milton Township in Cass County (-19.3 percent).

Many of those areas had small populations to begin with. In the case of South Haven’s 10 percent reduction, the city lost about 439 residents over the 10-year period.

Three Oaks Township and the village of Three Oaks both saw a loss of about 250 residents. In the township that equated to about 9.7 percent and in the village, 15.5 percent.

In the Twin Cities, Benton Harbor lost about 9.3 percent of its population, or about 935 residents, and St. Joseph lost about 6.1 percent or about 509 residents.

Their corresponding townships also saw reductions, though much smaller. Benton Township lost about 2.5 percent and St. Joseph Township lost about 0.3 percent.

New Buffalo lost about 9.3 percent of its population, or about 175 residents, while New Buffalo Township gained 2.9 percent or about 69 residents.

Municipal increases

When it came to larger gains in population, there were several clear winners percentage-wise.

Lake Township in Berrien County gained 11.6 percent, or about 344 new residents. Bridgman, which the township surrounds, lost 8.5 percent of its residents, or about 195.

Antwerp Township, which overlays Mattawan and Lawton in Van Buren County, gained about 10.2 percent or about 1,242 residents.

The village of Mattawan, by itself, gained 27.7 percent. That’s one of the biggest percent gains in Southwest Michigan. With it being such a small area, that percentage only equates to about 553 new people for a total population of 2,550.

Royalton and Sodus townships in Berrien both gained population. Royalton Township got a 7.9 percent boost and Sodus Township saw a 3.3 percent increase.

Other winners were Berrien Springs, with an added 6.1 percent gain, and LaGrange Township in Cass County, with an added 8.2 percent increase.

Overall, the state of Michigan saw a 2 percent increase in population in the past decade.

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