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Matt Kinghorn
Indiana Business Research Center

Carol Rogers
Indiana Business Research Center

Last modified: Thursday, February 10, 2011

IU center: Indiana Census results show population gains and losses all over the map

Editors: A news release about the increasing diversity of Indiana's population can be seen at

Feb. 10, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The 10-county Indianapolis-Carmel metro area fueled much of Indiana's population growth over the past decade, adding 231,137 people, according to analysis by the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business.

Census 2010

The first release of local data from the 2010 Census shows that this central Indiana region accounted for 57 percent of the state's total growth. Indiana's other large metropolitan statistical areas -- Gary, Fort Wayne, Evansville and South Bend -- also grew but only Fort Wayne outpaced the state's mark of 6.6 percent growth over the decade, IBRC analysts said.

Meanwhile, many of the mid-sized communities that long formed much of Indiana's industrial backbone saw significant population decline. This is particularly the case through a swath of north-central and east-central Indiana where metropolitan and micropolitan areas such as Logansport (4.8 percent population decline), Wabash (-5.9 percent), Kokomo (-2.8 percent), Marion (-4.6 percent), Anderson (-1.3 percent), Muncie (-0.9 percent), Richmond (-3.1 percent) and Connersville (-5.1 percent) lost population. Much of rural Indiana continues to lose population as well.

In all, 63 Indiana counties added residents over the last decade while 29 lost population. The state's five fastest-growing counties all bordered Marion County. These ring counties were led by Hamilton and Hendricks, which grew by 50 percent (91,829 residents) and 40 percent (41,355), respectively. In fact, these two counties have consistently ranked among the 100 fastest-growing counties in the country over the last decade. Blackford County (-9.1 percent), Benton County (-6.0 percent) and Wabash County (-5.9 percent) had the sharpest declines of all Indiana counties.

The 29 counties with shrinking populations combined to lose 27,947 residents over this period. To put this number in perspective, the population gain in Hamilton County alone was more than three times as great as this total.

Indiana's Largest Counties and Metro Areas

The Indianapolis-Carmel metro area population grew by 15.2 percent. In addition to Hamilton and Hendricks counties, other fast-growing central Indiana communities include Hancock County (26.4 percent), Boone County (22.8 percent) and Johnson County (21.2 percent). Marion County added 42,939 residents to reach a total population of 903,393 -- a 5 percent increase since the last decennial census in April 2000.

Census Data - Largest Counties

"Rapid growth in the Indianapolis area means that the state's population is becoming increasingly concentrated in central Indiana," said Matt Kinghorn, IBRC state demographer. "The 10-county metro area's share of the state total increased from 25.1 percent in 2000 to 27.1 percent in 2010.

"The upshot of this shift is that central Indiana will gain greater representation in the state and federal legislatures and also garner a larger share of public resources," Kinghorn added.

Rural Switzerland County was the state's sixth-fastest-growing county with a 17.1 percent increase to 10,613 residents

Indiana's other large metro counties are growing, too. In Northwest Indiana, Lake County is up 2.4 percent to 496,005 residents, while neighboring Porter County grew by 12 percent to reach 164,343. Allen County grew by 7.1 percent to climb to 355,329 residents. St. Joseph County ended the decade with 266,931 residents -- a mere half-percent increase over the last census.

While industrial decline may have led to population loss in many parts of the state, two metro areas that are heavily focused on manufacturing saw strong growth. Elkhart County, despite being hit hard by both recessions in this decade, posted an 8.1 percent population growth, while Bartholomew County grew by 7.5 percent.

Other rapidly growing metro counties include Tippecanoe (16 percent), Monroe (14.4 percent) and Clark (14.3 percent).

Vanderburgh County saw a 4.5 percent population increase, but neighboring Warrick County's population jumped 13.9 percent. Vigo County's population grew by 1.9 percent.

Census Data - Growing Counties

Indiana's Largest Cities

Among Indiana's largest cities and towns, those in Hamilton County had the fastest growth rates. Carmel led with a 110 percent growth rate followed by Fishers at 103 percent and Noblesville at 82 percent. Elsewhere, Jeffersonville's population jumped by 64 percent, Greenwood was up 38 percent and Fort Wayne's increased by 23 percent.

Note that population change in some cities can reflect both population growth and boundary changes over the last decade, Kinghorn noted.

Several of Indiana's largest cities lost population, led by Gary with a startling 22 percent decline. Over the decade, Gary's population dropped from 102,746 to 80,294. Other large cities with declines include Evansville (-3.4 percent), South Bend (-6.1 percent), Hammond (-2.7 percent), Anderson (-6.0 percent), Elkhart (-1.8 percent) and Kokomo (-1.4 percent). Indiana's five largest cities and their 2010 Census counts are Indianapolis (820,445), Fort Wayne (253,691), Evansville (117,429), South Bend (101,168) and Hammond (80,830).

The purpose of the release of Census Bureau results is to provide Indiana officials with the data needed to redraw congressional and legislative districts. Complete data at various levels of geography can be found at either or The Census Bureau will release data with greater age, sex, race and ethnicity detail later this summer.

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, with funding support from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. The IBRC also develops and maintains STATS Indiana, the award-winning, state-supported Web service (