Where are all these new people coming from? Throughout Indiana, folks are asking this question. Now we have answers covering the last half-decade (2015-19) from the American Community Survey. After gathering data from 17.7 million (15%) of 120.7 million households nationwide, the Census Bureau offers the following information:

1. Of the 6.6 million Hoosiers one year and older, during the years 2015 to 2019, 85% (5.6 million) were living in the same house as a year earlier. Of those who did move to a different house, one-third stayed in the same county. That means 91% of the people living in Indiana did not change counties in that five-year period.

2. With only 9% of resident Hoosiers (416,300) moving across county lines, where did they come from? Turns out 59% of them (244,400) were intrastate movers, already Hoosiers from other counties. Thus, only 171,900 new people were crossing our state borders. Of these,145,500 were from the remaining 49 states, the District of Columbia (DC) and Puerto Rico (PR). The final 26,400 were from abroad..

3. Alert, foreigners! What kind of foreigners are we talking about? These were people who lived the year before in a foreign county, with half of them in Asia. Nearly 4,000 lived in Europe, and 3,000 each in Africa or Central America. Some may have been Americans return home after a stint abroad.

4. Where are all those immigrants we see daily on TV? Few, if any, were living in Indiana. We are not a primary state of entry where newcomers stay as they get their feet on the ground. Recent foreigners in Indiana are likely to be students or others who had Hoosier contacts before entering the county.

5. Returning to those 145,500 newcomers from the rest of the U.S. (item #2 above), 64,300 (44%) came from our neighboring four states. Almost half of those folks (31,900) came from Illinois. The other three states added 32,400: Ohio sent us 12,400, Kentucky 10,800, and Michigan 9,200.

The next block of newcomers (23,700, 16%) were escapees from Florida (9,200), California (7,300), and Texas (7,100). Each of the 42 remaining states, plus DC and PR, had fewer than 5,000 persons choosing to live in Indiana, a total of 57,500 people, 40% of our interstate newcomers.

6. Why did 171,900 people move to Indiana? That question is not part of this Survey. Commonly, we believe family is a primary factor - - two groups: a) children returning to or for their parents, where they grew up, and have high school friends, an identity, and b) grandparents seeking time with their children and grandchildren). Others move in because of schooling or job opportunities. Some imagined concept of Hoosier wholesomeness might play a role in some decisions.

While 171,900 persons were moving into Indiana, 136,700 were moving out. Where they went will be reported next week.
Morton J. Marcus is an economist formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His column appears in Indiana newspapers, and his views can be followed his podcast.

© 2021 Morton J. Marcus

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