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Indiana University

Knowledge Sharing

Why Indiana's Per Capita Personal Income Lags (and How to Fix It)

Tim Slaper

“Indiana’s per capita personal income lags the nation because we also lag the nation in terms of educational attainment. In 2011, Indiana ranked 43rd in the country in terms of the percent of the population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. There is a strong correlation between educational attainment and PCPI, and the relationship has only become stronger over the last 50 years.”

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Contact the IBRC

IBRC Research & Services

Our versatile web-based data tools serve the needs of many users, sometimes the information you need help analyzing and applying it. For such cases, consider our custom research and information services.

IBRC research staff will work with you to define research objectives and will then prepare a proposal for the work to be conducted. These commissioned studies are conducted on a fee-for-service basis, with fees covering the cost of staff time, materials and so on. Specific outputs of your commissioned research will depend on the nature of your project and may include written reports, presentations, data files or training programs.

What do you need?

Several of our most-requested services are listed below.

Benchmarking Local and Regional Economies

Benchmarking studies provide an in-depth profile of economic conditions in a given area—it could be an individual city or county, a multi-county region, or a state as a whole—as a frame of reference for understanding the area’s economy. These studies profile the area’s economic structure (industry mix) and characteristics, comparing current performance to past performance or strategic goals, and also to the performance of other places viewed as peers. Targeted industries and economic clusters can represent a special focus in this key tool for monitoring an area’s progress.

Business Retention and Expansion Studies

Economic development organizations seek not only to attract new businesses to their areas, but also to help local businesses grow and prosper. A strategy to support local businesses should begin with understanding their needs, concerns, and views on the local environment for business. The IBRC conducts business retention-and-expansion (BR&E) studies to gather such information from local businesses and then works with economic developers and other stakeholders to craft an insightful BR&E strategy.

Custom Data Aggregation and Research

The IBRC can aggregate data across units as small as neighborhoods and block groups to produce detailed demographic and economic insights for special regions of interest, such as retail market areas or social service areas. The IBRC taps its extensive database of statistics from other agencies and commercial sources to provide special insights needed to understand local or regional demographic and economic trends, market opportunities, and the like.

Demographic Analysis

As Indiana’s key demographic information source since 1925, the IBRC specializes in understanding the many dimensions of our people and the ways they are changing. Our analyses can shed light on patterns and trends in the makeup of your area’s population, including such factors as employment status, age and sex, educational attainment, race and ethnicity, income, household composition, and numerous other variables.

Database and Website Design

One of the earliest online providers of economic data, the IBRC has developed award-winning websites for a number of organizations and projects to provide convenient access to data, graphs, and maps. The simplest of these services deliver fresh data automatically to the client’s own website as new statistics become available. More complex projects provide detailed data focused on the client’s area or topics of interest, updated automatically, with a variety of tools that allow website users to choose the kinds of reports or presentations they need.

Economic Impact Studies

Have you ever wanted to know the economic impact of an activity such as:

  • a new plant starting up in your area
  • the loss of a major employer
  • a major special event?

The IBRC employs sophisticated input-output modeling methods to estimate the impacts of such activities on an area’s economy. These studies estimate economic impacts in terms of the dollars and jobs gained or lost in the area’s economy. The losses or gains include the direct effects of the new activity itself, as well as the less direct effects on purchases from area suppliers, spending by employees, and the like.

GIS and Mapping

The majority of data used for decision making by businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations has a geographic component. Few things help one visualize and understand such data as well as a map. In addition to the hundreds of maps available on STATS Indiana, the IBRC provides custom GIS services to map data needed by your organization, define and analyze custom regions, and help your key people and those you serve understand the geographic dimensions of what you do.

Government Efficiency Analysis

Taxpayers and elected officials often want to know how efficiently local government units carry out their work. Are taxpayers getting a reasonable return on the investment of their tax dollars? Do the agencies use their resources efficiently to deliver public services? The IBRC’s analytical team can examine local government performance data and present it in the context of similar operations elsewhere.

Population and Workforce Projections

As Indiana's formal liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau, the IBRC produces official population projections for the state and its counties. These projections, which extend population trends by age, sex, and race/ethnicity many years into the future, offer valuable inputs to long-term planning by businesses, government agencies, school districts, and many other users. The IBRC also develops projections of workplace skills that, combined with occupational projections, help plot potential workforce gaps and recognize opportunities to address those gaps through training and other programs.

School Enrollment Projections

School boards and administrators often face decisions about building new schools, expanding existing ones, shifting the focus of different school facilities, or planning for declining enrollments in the future. The IBRC develops multi-year projections of enrollments, renowned for their accuracy, to help districts throughout Indiana address these issues.

Survey Research

When research calls for polling the views of individuals—be they household residents, executives, members of organizations, or others—the IBRC draws upon years of experience in the design and implementation of surveys. Depending on the situation, these may include mail, telephone, or online surveys. The center operates its own online survey facility for efficient data collection in large-scale survey projects.

Targeted Industry and Cluster Analysis

Communities and regions often want to know which industries or industry/occupational clusters represent appropriate targets for their economic development efforts. To identify promising targets, we analyze the structure of the area economy, together with its competitive strengths and weaknesses, highlighting those industries or clusters with good potential on which to build.

Training (building databases, using census data, research and more)

Knowledge transfer is an important philosophy for the IBRC and just as we provide access to data for and about Indiana, we are happy to share what we know and how we learn it with businesses, government agencies, nonprofits and others. Because our work spans the continuum from analysis and research to data mining and writing, we provide training in the tools and skills it takes to traverse those fields. Examples include:

  • Empowerment training for a state government agency in power researching
  • Analytical writing
  • Data mining with SQL tools
  • Power with Excel
  • Benchmarking a local or regional economy, etc.
  • Annual workshops at the Indiana Economic Development Academy
  • Training in the use of the management tool for the Indiana Properties database
  • Census and other statistical data training