Michigan GOP candidates for governor are starting to often use a statistic about the exodus of residents from Michigan. It purports to show the rate at which people are leaving.

Rick Snyder, a GOP candidate for governor, has it on his website that every 12 minutes, a family leaves Michigan.

Mike Bouchard, another gubernatorial Republican candidate said Saturday in Clarkston, "Every 12 minutes, someone leaves this state."

Where did the statistic come from? Is it a "family" or a "person"?

The Snyder campaign said they got the statistic from a 2009 Detroit News story.

The Detroit News reported in April that 109,000 more people left the state of Michigan in 2008 than moved in. That's about 300 a day (298.63), about 12 (12.44) an hour and 2.48 every 12 minutes.

According to Maps-n-stats.com, the average household size in Michigan is 2.56 and the average family size is 3.10.

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Detroit News reporter Ron French explained in an e-mail how he came up with oft-quoted figure:

... [W]hile I don't have the exact calculations I used last year, here's how I did it:

  • I started with the net loss of 109,000 people in 2008
  • I divided that by Michigan's average household size; I don't know the number I used last year, but a figure I found today sets that household size as 2.51. We called a household a family, in case that's the difference in our calculations
  • That leaves 43,426 (I started today's calculation with the round 109,000 figure - i (sic) didn't bother to look up the exact figure today).
  • I divided that by days (364) and hours (24)
  • That left a net of 4.97 families (households) leaving per hour.
  • I divided 60 minutes by 4.97 families to come up with a family leaving every 12 minutes.