After years of declining population growth rates in Indiana, 2013 data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows a turn around.
A report by the Indiana Business Research Center in the IU Kelley School of Business reveals Indiana’s population growth rate is increasing, inching toward where that number was prior to 2008’s recession.
“When you have major shocks, whether it’s great booms or great busts, things kind of reroute back to the mean,” said Matt Kinhorn, an economic analyst at the Indiana Business Research Center.
After the recession, growth rates fell dramatically and are now working their way to levels that would be considered normal.
“If you look at the state, we grew just about half a percent in 2013,” Kinghorn said. “And that’s an improvement over 2012 where we grew about three tenths of a percent.”
The report shows that 45 of the 92 counties in Indiana experienced a population decline in 2013.
This was largely caused by a net out-migration of residents and, in 16 of these
counties, a natural decline, rooting from more deaths than births, according to the report.
“There’s really a handful of metropolitan areas that are kind of the engine for population growth in Indiana,” Kinghorn said.
He said he thinks trends in metropolitan areas will be most interesting to track going forward.
“Some people think that we’re going to see a ‘back to the city’ trend,” he said.
He said that he’s skeptical of this idea, but looks forward to an end result.
Kinghorn said while this is a positive thing, the rates are not yet back to normal.
“It’s just another indicator pointed in the right direction,” he said.
The growth is a positive sign for Indiana’s economy.
Kinghorn said it’s something he’s been waiting for, because he never expected the slow growth to continue for as long as it did. The population growth remained slow after the recession, which began in 2008.
“Our population growth rate really goes hand in hand with our economic fortunes,” he said. “When things are going well in Indiana, then we’re attracting residents to the state.”