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Last modified: Thursday, July 17, 2003

How many Hoosiers? Indiana population projections -- 2005 to 2040

Aging population could affect workforce

EDITORS: More information and publication-quality charts and maps are available at the Indiana Business Research Center's Web site at IBRC Executive Director Morton Marcus ( and Demographer John Besl ( are available for interviews. Please call 317-274-2979 to arrange to speak to Marcus or Besl.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- In 2000, one in eight Hoosiers had reached the age of 65. New population projections released today (July 17) by the Indiana Business Research Center in Indiana University's Kelley School of Business indicate that by the year 2040 one in every five Indiana residents will have reached that milestone. These new findings highlight important concerns about the future of Indiana's workforce and the need to attract and retain people to participate in it.

"Between 2000 and 2020, most areas of Indiana outside the Indianapolis metropolitan area can be expected to lose population in the age group 25-to-54, a scenario that may have serious labor force repercussions across the state," said IBRC Demographer John Besl. "This is the time in life when labor force participation is highest and people are their most economically productive. A drop in the number of workers in this age range would almost certainly reduce the workforce available to produce goods and services that drive the state's economy."

According to the new data, Indiana is expected to have more residents age 65 and older by the year 2035 than those under age 15.

"In 2000, roughly 12 percent of the state's population was 65 or older. This share is expected to remain stable through 2010, but will begin to climb steadily after that point and reach 21 percent by 2040," said Morton J. Marcus, IBRC executive director. "At the opposite side of the age spectrum, persons under 15 made up 22 percent of Indiana's population in 2000. This age group's share of total population should drop slowly over the next 40 years and fall to roughly 20 percent."

While the growth rate of Hoosiers 65 and older will be modest in the next few years, their number will nearly double in the next four decades, from 753,000 in 2000 to 1.48 million in 2040. A small increase of 8,000 is expected statewide between 2000 and 2005, but from 2010 to 2015 the increase will be 108,000. Between 2020 and 2025, the state is expected to add another 162,000 senior citizens.

Indiana's population growth rate is expected to slow considerably, from 9.7 percent in the 1990s to 5.5 percent by 2010. Growth could slow even further in subsequent decades, to 2040 when the population would only increase by 2.9 percent. Sixty-three percent of Indiana's population growth will be accounted for by people age 65 and over.

Population projections are a critical component of capital and policy decisions made by governments and businesses. They often determine whether hospitals and schools will be built and where shopping centers and homes will be constructed. "The shape of our lives tomorrow can be influenced by the projections we have available today," Besl said.

The IBRC has maintained responsibility for Indiana's population projections since the mid-1960s. Funding for these projections is supported by Indiana Department of Commerce.

Here are other projections for the state over the next four decades:

-- Indiana's population should top 7 million in 2030 and reach 7,225,000 by 2040. The state will add 1.1 million people between 2000 and 2040. Between 1960 and 2000, the state added 1.4 million people and grew by 30.4 percent.

-- The population of people between age 25 and 64 will fall to 47 percent by 2040. It was 52 percent in 2000.

-- Seventy-three of Indiana's 92 counties will grow in population. Hamilton County, already the fastest-growing county in the state, should double in population. The country is projected to add 254,000 people or 22 percent of the state's growth. By comparison, Marion County, which comprises Indianapolis, should add 125,000 people or 11 percent of the state's growth. Eighty-three counties will experience natural increases in population (more births than deaths) but only 41 counties will have net in-migration (more people moving to the country than leaving).

-- Hamilton County will remain the state's fastest-growing county for each 5-year projection period from 2000-2005 through 2020-2025. Four other counties -- Hendricks, Allen, Johnson and Elkhart -- could each add more than 50,000 people. Hendricks County is expected to rank second in both numeric and percent change for the initial 10-year and 20-year periods of the new century. The top five counties in 10-year and 20-year percent change will be suburban Indianapolis counties: Hamilton, Hendricks, Johnson, Boone and Hancock. The 10 biggest counties will go from 48.8 percent to 50.5 percent of the state's population.

-- Marion County is expected to lose population between 2000 and 2005, ranking it last among all counties in numeric change. The state's largest county should rebound in the next five-year period, however, gaining about 11,000 people to rank third for the 2005-2010 period.

-- Counties with the biggest population declines will be Vermillion, Posey and Madison counties. Madison County is expected to lose the most -- 12,000 people.

-- The state's median age will grow, but more slowly than in recent decades. From 1980 to 2000, the median age of Hoosiers increased by six years. It is expected to grow by only 2.9 years between 2000 and 2020. In the last two decades, 59 Indiana counties experienced an increase in median age of at least six years.

-- Over the next 20 years, only Parke County will experience such a large increase in median age. Only four Hoosier counties -- Tippecanoe, Monroe, LaGrange and Sullivan -- experienced an increase in median age under four years between 1980 and 2000. In the next 20 years, 56 counties are expected to experience similarly small increases in median age. Between 2030 and 2040, the median age is expected to decline or remain stable in half of Indiana's counties.

-- Brown County was the only county with a median age of over 40 years in 2000. Ten years later, there will be 24 counties in which half of the residents are older than 40. By 2030, 62 Hoosier counties can be expected to reach this milestone. Brown County is expected to remain the oldest Indiana county through 2030, when its median age will reach 47. By 2035 and 2040, Parke County and Warren County are expected to surpass Brown in median age.

The projections are available on the Internet at http://www.ibrc.indiana.eduand A CD ROM version will also be available. It includes a full summary, with highlights (data and graphs) for each county in the state, plus spreadsheet files for those needing to do in-depth work with these projections.

These are demographic projections. They are based on the population counts of the census taken in 2000 and the birth, death and migration experience of each county in the 1990s. No data or assumptions concerning economic or environmental factors have been included in the projections. Changes in those factors interact with demographic patterns.