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New Census Data Show Continued Suburban Growth

Indiana Business Research Center, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released population estimates for Indiana's 92 counties, revealing that the strong suburban growth trend of the 1990s is continuing. Below are some highlights from the data. More information can be found on the web at www.stats.indiana.edu/pop_totals_topic_page.html.

  • The five fastest growing Hoosier counties are on the suburban fringes of Indianapolis, with each increasing over 4 percent since Census 2000 (see Figure 1).

    Figure 1
    Percent Change in Population, April 2000-July 2002

    Figure 1
  • Between April 1, 2000 and July 1, 2002, Hamilton County's population is estimated to have grown by almost 23,000. Trailing right behind on the numeric growth chart are two other suburban Indianapolis counties: Hendricks, with an estimated gain of 10,200 people, and Johnson, where population increased by 6,400. Allen County rounds out the list of counties with increases of 5,000 or more (see Figure 2).

    Figure 2
    Numeric Change in Population, April 2000-July 2002

    Figure 2

  • In 22 counties, population has grown since the census, but only because natural increase (births minus deaths) has offset losses through migration. This group includes some of the state's largest counties: Marion, Lake, St. Joseph, and Elkhart. Over the two years between April 2000 and July 2002, Marion County is estimated to have had 12,400 more people leaving the county than moving in.
  • The five smallest Indiana counties—Ohio, Union, Warren, Switzerland and Benton—remain under 10,000 in population. All except Benton County, however, have grown since 2000. Ohio, Switzerland, and Warren counties even rank in the top 10 among Indiana's 92 counties on percent population change since 2000, each exceeding 3 percent.
  • Martin County's population has been remarkably stable for some time. The county's 2000 census count was unchanged from 1990, at 10,369. The new estimate for mid-year 2002 shows a change of one person, boosting the Martin County population to 10,370.