George Vlahakis

BLOOMINGTON — Latest results from the 2020 Census show that Indiana’s population growth over the past decade largely was driven by gains in a handful of metropolitan areas and exclusively through gains among the state’s minority populations, according to analysis by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

The 11-county Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson metro lead the way by adding 223,163 residents between 2010 and 2020, an 11.8 percent increase. The Indy metro area’s numeric growth accounted for 74 percent of the state’s net population gain over this period.

With a population now at more than 2.1 million people, this central Indiana region’s share of the state’s total population increased from 29.1 percent in 2010 to 31.1 percent in 2020.

Other fast-growing metro areas in the state include Fort Wayne (7.6 percent growth), Columbus (7.1 percent), Lafayette (6.7 percent) and the Indiana portion of the Louisville metro (6.2 percent). The only Indiana metro areas to lose population over the decade are Muncie (-4.9 percent decline) and Terre Haute (-2.1 percent).

“While many Indiana metro areas continue to grow, large swaths of the state — including most mid-sized and rural communities — saw a population decline between 2010 and 2020,” said Matthew Kinghorn, senior demographer at the IBRC. “All told, 49 of Indiana’s 92 counties lost population over this period. This represents the largest number of Indiana counties to show a decline between censuses since the 1980s.”

The 44 Indiana counties that are part of a metropolitan statistical area combined to grow by 6.3 percent over the past decade. Meanwhile, the state’s 48 non-metro counties as a group declined by -0.9 percent over the same period.

For Indiana as a whole, the state added 301,726 residents since 2010 — a 4.7 percent increase — and was home to nearly 6.8 million residents as of April 1, 2020.

The latest Census Bureau release provides Indiana officials with the data needed to redraw congressional and legislative districts. 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.

Population gains and losses all over the map


The state’s five fastest-growing counties all bordered Marion County. For the fifth consecutive decade, Hamilton County set the pace with a 26.5 percent increase between 2010 and 2020, followed by Boone (25.0 percent), Hendricks (20.2 percent), Johnson (15.8 percent) and Hancock (14.1 percent) counties.

Outside of Central Indiana, Clark County had the quickest rate of change at 9.9 percent, followed by Jackson (9.6 percent), Lagrange (8.9 percent) and Allen (8.5 percent) counties. Marion County posted the state’s largest numeric gain in population by adding 73,810 residents over the decade — an 8.2 percent increase.

At the other end of the spectrum, five rural counties — Switzerland (-8.3 percent), Greene (-7.1 percent) Parke (-6.8 percent), Pulaski (-6.6 percent) and Randolph (-6.4 percent) counties — had the state’s sharpest declines. Some relatively large Indiana counties that had significant population losses include Grant (-4.8 percent) and Wayne (-3.4 percent) counties.

Hoosiers Identifying as multi-race post largest increase between 2010 and 2020

Among Indiana largest race and ethnic groups, Indiana residents who identify as multi-race posted the largest increase between 2010 and 2020 by adding 165,979 residents. The state’s Hispanic population grew by 164,484 residents over the same period while the number of Hoosiers who are Asian and Black increased by 65,207 and 55,360, respectively.

In terms of the rate of growth, the multi-race population set the pace with a 167 percent increase over the decade, followed by the Asian population (64.3 percent), the Hispanic population (42.2 percent) and the Black population (9.5 percent).

Indiana’s non-Hispanic white population, meanwhile, declined by 165,449 residents between 2010 and 2020 — a -3.1 percent drop. Broken out by broad age groups, the size of Indiana’s white population that is age 18 or older fell by 31,682 residents over this period, yet the number of white residents under the age of 18 declined by nearly 133,800. As a result, white Hoosiers account for 78.3 percent of the state’s population that is age 18 or older, and 66.3 percent of Indiana residents under the age of 18.

Looking at total population counts by race and ethnic groups, the majority of Indiana’s 6,785,528 residents are white (5.12 million), followed by Black (637,500), Hispanic (554,191), Multi-race (265,344), Asian (166,651), American Indian or Alaska Native (12,938) and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (2,761). An additional 25,139 Hoosiers identified as being of some other race.

As the result of these varying growth trends, the white population’s share of Indiana’s total dipped to 75.5 percent in 2020 from 81.5 percent in 2010. Over the same period, the state’s Black population climbed from 9.0 percent of the total to 9.4 percent. Indiana’s Hispanic residents now account for 8.2 percent of the state’s population compared to 6.0 percent a decade ago. The Hoosier Asian population is up from 1.6 percent of the total in 2010 to 2.5 percent in 2020.

Note that Hispanic refers to an ethnicity, not a race. Hispanic residents can be of any race. All race categories in this analysis refer to non-Hispanic residents of those races.

Indiana’s Largest Counties


Each of Indiana’s ten largest counties added population over the decade. Marion County is still the state’s most-populous county with 977,203 residents in 2020. With a 0.5 percent increase over the decade, Lake County grew to 498,700 residents. With the addition of 30,081 residents, Allen County reached a total population of 385,410 and maintained its position as the state’s third-largest county. Hamilton County grew by nearly 73,000 residents and ended the decade with a population of 347,467, however, and continues to close the gap on the third spot.

Neighboring St. Joseph (total population of 272,912) and Elkhart (207,047) counties are the only other Indiana counties with populations above the 200,000 mark in 2020. Tippecanoe (186,251), Vanderburgh (180,136), Hendricks (174,788) and Porter (173,215) counties round out the ten-largest counties in the state.

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