As Indiana continues to put a major focus on population growth and quality of place programs like the Regional Cities Initiative, recently-released population numbers illustrate why many think such efforts are crucial. The Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business says overall, the state saw sluggish population growth in 2015. Demographer Matt Kinghorn says, while some areas bucked the trend, the majority of Indiana counties lost population in 2015, thanks in part to a recession-fueled birthrate decline.
Overall, Indiana gained 21,800 residents in 2015, which is a 0.3 percent increase over 2014. That marks the state’s second-smallest yearly population gain since 1989, and ranks Indiana as the 30th fastest-growing state last year. Indiana was the 16th most populous state last year with more than 6.6 million residents.
While much of the focus of population growth initiatives has been on rural areas, the center says population growth in metropolitan areas is slow as well. The state’s 44 counties that belong to a metropolitan area grew at a total rate of 0.5 percent in 2015. The 48 counties outside of those areas reported a 0.2 percent decline.
The state launched the Regional Cities Initiative in hopes of supporting population growth and quality of life initiatives throughout the state. The effort called on regions to form public-private partnerships to boost development of regional plans and projects. In all, the state awarded a total of $126 million to North Central, Northeast and Southwest Indiana.
You can find more information on the population estimates by clicking here.
Kinghorn says he’s surprised Indiana’s population growth has not turned the corner yet.