A new analysis from the Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business suggests the state’s population is growing about as slowly as it has in decades. Senior Demographer Matt Kinghorn says factors at play include a "significant" inbound migration slowdown and lower birth rates since the Great Recession. He says only a handful of counties, most of which center around a few metropolitan areas, are driving the sluggish growth. Of the 92 counties in the state, 53 experienced a dip in population from 2015 to 2016.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Kinghorn says population growth is "distributed pretty unevenly throughout the state." He says rural areas continue to struggle to retain residents and some suburban communities, particularly in central Indiana; the Lafayette, South Bend and Elkhart areas; as well as Greater Fort Wayne and Greater Louisville, saw upticks. "When you get outside of these metro areas, there are really large swaths of rural and mid-sized communities that are losing population," Kinghorn said.
Hamilton County again led the state in growth. Lake County was the most outbound state by total population, dropping some 1,800 residents between during the last year. Grant County and LaPorte County saw the next-highest population dips.
Overall, Indiana’s population increased by nearly 21,000, or 0.3 percent, which was the second-smallest gain since 1989.
The largest population gains from 2015-2016 by percentage are:
- Hamilton County
- Boone County
- Hancock County
- Johnson County
- Hendricks County
The largest population dips by percentage are:
- Perry County
- Pulaski County
- Warren County
- Blackford County
- Grant County
You can connect to additional numbers and projections from the IBRC by clicking here.