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EYE ON THE PIE: Indiana: a primer for the Legislature

November 27, 2006

The General Assembly is organizing itself. This is more difficult than getting fleas to join a union. But I am being disrespectful.

My purpose this week is benign. I present for the consideration of our 150 legislators certain facts about Indiana and where it ranks nationally. The data are from the 2005 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

First, let's consider sex. Of the 6.1 million Hoosiers, 50.9 percent are females, which leaves 49.1 percent as males. That is 96.5 males for every 100 females, 23rd highest among the states. Nationwide, this sex ratio is 96 percent.

In the primary Hoosier hunting group, there are 110 unmarried men age 15 to 44 for each 100 unmarried females of the same age. (What woman wants half a man?)

And while we are on the subject of sex, 34 percent of the women in Indiana who had a child in the preceding year were unmarried. The national figure was 31 percent. In Indiana, we get married sooner than our compatriots. Half of Hoosier men get married for the first time by age 26.3; nationally, that figure is 27. Among women, half get married for the first time by age 25.1; nationally, 25.5 years old.

Only 4 percent of Hoosiers are foreignborn. That ranks us 35th in the nation, where 12.4 percent were born outside the United States. Of this foreign-born Hoosier population, 40.7 percent were born in Mexico, 16th highest in the nation, where 30.7 percent of those who are foreign-born are of Mexican birth. This means that just 1.6 percent of our 6.1 million Hoosiers were born in Mexico.

By contrast, 8.6 percent of Hoosiers identify themselves as black or African-American. This puts us 23rd among the states, where the national figure is 12.1 percent. Our Asian population is 1.3 percent of the total (37th in the United States) compared with 4.3 percent nationally.

Much is made of educational attainment in Indiana. We rank 30th (85 percent) in percentage of people 25 and older who have completed high school or its equivalent; the figure is 84 percent for the country. A four-year college degree is held by 27 percent of the U.S. population, while in Indiana the figure is 21 percent (45th in the nation). For advanced degrees, we stand 39th (7.7 percent), tied with Wyoming and one place below Kentucky. Nationwide, the figure is 10 percent.

The median family income in Indiana is $54,077 (27th), 3.1 percent below the U.S. average. For the broader population, our median household income is $43,993 (also 27th in country), or 4.8-percent below the national figure.

For those Indiana males who work fulltime year-round, the median income is $41,362, just 1.4-percent below the national $41,965. Hoosier females working full-time year-round have a median income of $29,946, 6.9 percent below the nation's $32,168. In Indiana, females earn 72 percent of their male counterparts; for the nation, the figure is slightly better at 77 percent.

Indiana (83.0 percent) ranks second only to Nevada (83.3 percent) in percentage of its civilian employed persons working in the private sector for wages or salaries. The national figure (78.2 percent) is not far from that level. These data confirm that one stereotype about Indiana is true. Indiana ranks first in percent of its civilian employed population engaged in manufacturing (21 percent). The nation comes in at 12 percent.

There is so much more to know about Indiana and the variety to be found within our state. We hope our legislators (new and returning) will spend some time attending to their lessons.



Marcus taught economics more than 30 years at Indiana University and is the former director of IU's Business Research Center. His column appears weekly. To comment on this column, go to IBJ Forum at www.ibj.comor send e-mail to mortonjmarcus@yahoo.com.
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