Indiana University Bloomington

IU Kelley School analysis: Population growth escalates in many Indiana communities

  • March 27, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- After several years of slow population growth, many Indiana communities saw an uptick in their growth rates in 2013, according to population estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

In all, Indiana’s population grew by a rate of 0.51 percent in 2013, up from 0.33 percent in 2012. The state’s growth rate had declined for six consecutive years before this reversal in 2013. As context, Indiana grew at an average annual rate of 0.64 percent between 2000 and 2010. Indiana ranked as the 30th fastest-growing state last year, and its growth rate outpaced each of its neighboring states.

Suburban communities in the Indianapolis metro area claimed the top four spots among all Indiana counties for growth. Hamilton County was the fastest-growing county with a 2.5 percent increase, followed by Boone County (2.5 percent), Hendricks County (2.0 percent) and Johnson County (1.6 percent).

“The 2013 population growth rates in each of these counties improved over the previous year,” said Matt Kinghorn, state demographer at the IBRC. “However, only Boone County’s growth rate matches or exceeds the pace set over the previous decade. Hamilton County, for instance, grew by an average annual rate of 4.1 percent between the years 2000 and 2010, and Hendricks County increased at a 3.3 percent annual pace over the same period.”

Tippecanoe County (Lafayette) was the state’s fifth-fastest-growing county in 2013 at 1.3 percent, followed by Floyd County (New Albany) at 1.2 percent and Lagrange County (Lagrange) at 1.1 percent.

For the second consecutive year, Marion County posted the state’s largest numeric gain with an increase of 9,394 residents in 2013. This is Marion County’s largest one-year increase since 1992, and it is more than twice the county’s average annual increase between 2000 and 2010. Indiana’s other top gainers were Hamilton (7,294), Hendricks (3,071), Allen (2,518) and Tippecanoe (2,388) counties.

Despite the positive momentum in some areas of the state, many Indiana communities lost population in 2013. Lake County had the state’s largest population decline in 2013 with a loss of 1,662 residents. Wayne County (Richmond) had the state’s second-largest drop at 386 residents, followed by Miami County (Peru) with a decline of 340 residents. In terms of the pace of decline, Fountain County had the state’s highest rate of population loss last year with a 1.3 percent decline. Ohio (-1.2 percent), Fulton (-1.1 percent), Martin (-1.0 percent) and Union (-1.0 percent) counties also posted strong population losses last year.

In all, 45 of Indiana’s 92 counties lost population in 2013. A net out-migration of residents was the primary driver of decline in most of these communities, although 16 Indiana counties also posted a natural decrease of the population -- meaning the county recorded more deaths over the year than births.  

Hamilton County had the state’s largest net in-migration in 2013 at 4,757 residents, followed by Marion County at 2,868 residents and Hendricks County at 2,079 residents. Looking at net outflow, Lake County led the way with a net loss of 2,840 movers. St. Joseph (-714) and Vigo (-453) counties had the next-largest net out-migrations in 2013.  

Indiana’s largest counties

Indiana has six counties with populations greater than 200,000. Marion County is the state’s largest with a population of 928,281 residents, which ranked as the nation’s 54th largest county in 2013 (out of 3,141 counties). Other counties above the 200,000-resident threshold are Lake (491,456), Allen (363,014), Hamilton (296,693), St. Joseph (266,709) and Elkhart (200,563).

Rounding out Indiana’s 10 largest counties are Vanderburgh (181,398), Tippecanoe (180,174), Porter (166,557) and Hendricks (153,879).

For more information about these estimates, visit the Population topic page at STATS Indiana.

The IBRC is part of a national network of State Data Centers and acts as the official state representative to the Census Bureau on matters relating to the census and population estimates. It receives support from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development for this work, including for the award-winning sites Hoosiers by the Numbers and STATS Indiana.

Related Links

Indianapolis

Marion County, home to Indianapolis, continues to have the largest population in Indiana.

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Media Contacts

George Vlahakis

  • IU Communications
  • Office 812-855-0846
  • Cell 812-345-1500
  • vlahakis@iu.edu
  • IU Inc.

Matt Kinghorn

  • Indiana Business Research Center
  • Office 812-856-0459
  • kinghorn@indiana.edu