Census: Indiana population growth half of that seen in 1990s

(WISH Photo, file)
(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s population is growing at about half the rate it did during the prosperous 1990s, continuing a trend that began during the Great Recession, new U.S. Census figures show.

The state’s population grew by an estimated 20,285 residents in 2015, for a 0.3 percent increase that boosted its population to an estimated 6.6 million people statewide, according to Census Bureau numbers.

Indiana has been adding about half as many new residents as it did during the 1990s, said Indiana University professor Matt Kinghorn, who’s the demographer at the Indiana Business Research Center.

He said the state’s population grew by an average of 53,600 people per year during the 1990s, and 40,300 per year during the first decade of the new millennium. But so far this decade, it’s gained about 23,750 more residents per year.

“It’s another year of slow growth for Indiana. It’s been happening since the start of the Great Recession,” Kinghorn told The (Northwest Indiana) Times.

Indiana hasn’t been adding jobs fast enough since the 2007-2009 recession to draw in more residents from out of state, and the state’s birth rate has slowed as lingering economic anxiety has caused people to put off starting families, he said.

Localized 2016 data hasn’t been released yet, but much of Indiana’s population growth in recent years has been concentrated in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. Heavily populated Lake County in far northwestern Indiana has lost population every year so far this decade, Kinghorn said.

“Lake County was getting a lot of migrants from Cook County (Illinois), but that has slowed since the Great Recession,” he said. “A lot of the suburban flow has slowed.”