Indiana's four largest cities see population surges

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A new report by an Indiana University research group says Indiana's four largest cities are in the midst of some big population increases.

The Indiana Business Research Center report says Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville and South Bend all saw population increases between 2010 and 2013 significantly larger than seen in previous years. The report released Thursday is based on U.S. Census Bureau population estimates the IU group analyzed.

The authors say Indianapolis added an average of about 7,200 residents annually from 2010 to 2013, nearly twice its pace from 2000 to 2010. Indiana's capital now has a population of about 843,000.

Fort Wayne had seen flat population growth, but it grew by nearly 900 residents annually from 2010 to 2013 and is now home to roughly 256,500 people.

Overall, Indiana’s population grew 0.51 percent in 2013, up from 0.33 percent in 2012. The state’s growth rate had declined for six consecutive years before 2013. 

Indiana ranked as the 30th fastest-growing state last year, and its growth rate outpaced each of its neighboring states.

Among counties, Marion County had the largest population rise in 2013 in terms of pure number, with an increase of 9,394 residents. It was Marion County’s largest one-year increase since 1992 and more than twice the county’s average annual increase between 2000 and 2010.

The state's other top gainers in 2013 were Hamilton (7,294), Hendricks (3,071), Allen (2,518) and Tippecanoe (2,388) counties.

Marion County ranked as the country's 54th largest county (out of 3,141 counties) in 2013, with 928,281 residents.

The state's next largest counties were Lake (491,456), Allen (363,014), Hamilton (296,693), St. Joseph (266,709) and Elkhart (200,563).

Indianapolis Downtown Inc. spokesman Bob Schultz said a building boom has boosted the city's residential units by 89 percent in the last five years and another 3,500 units will open by 2017.

The development group researched who's moving into downtown and found 38 percent are coming to the city from outside of Indiana and most are millennials — the children of baby boomers who came of age in the new millennium — and empty nesters. Another 26 percent were moving to downtown from counties outside of Marion County.

Schultz said young professionals who work at IUPUI just west of downtown or in the city's growing life sciences industry are drawn downtown because of the shopping, restaurants, bars and mass transit options. Many don't have cars, he said.

"They want to live in an urban core, where the action is, and they want to be close to where they work," he said.

Indiana's second-largest city, Fort Wayne, had essentially experienced flat population growth from 2000 to 2010, but the IU report found its population grew at an average annual pace of nearly 900 residents from 2010 to 2013, when it had about 256,500 residents.

The northeastern Indiana city's economy is on the upswing, spurring downtown projects, said Mary Tyndall, spokeswoman for Fort Wayne's community development office.

And big local employer Ash Brokerage recently announced it will build its new headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne as part of a larger $98 million development set to open in 2016 with condos and parking garages, Tyndall said.

"Our downtown is really booming. There's a lot of momentum for Fort Wayne and certainly the economy has picked back up over the last three, four years," she said.

Evansville, which had a 2013 population of 120,310 residents, grew by about 80 residents per year in 2010-2013, compared to an average annual decline of 420 residents from 2000 to 2010.

South Bend continued losing population during 2010-2013 at a pace of nearly 45 people a year, but that's a big improvement from the nearly 700 residents lost annually from 2000 to 2010, the IU report found.


  • Budget deficits...
    How about we stop handing tax abatements like their candy and actually have employers shoulder some of the tax burden...
  • Still Not Fast Enough
    If the City needs 50,000 more residents making $50,000 per year to close it's budget deficit, as has been reported, at this pace it will still take at least 7 years to get there...and that's only if ALL the new residents have high-paying jobs. Unfortunately, in seven years the City's expenses will be higher too. Tough to grow out of big deficits!
  • RE: Roy
    Indy does not have an "illegal immigrant" problem. If you think we do, then you should check out Texas or California.. Hell even just drive up to Chicago this weekend. Its only 3 hours away. Also, even if we did, they wouldn't show up on census data. C'mon Roy.. you're better than that.
  • "surge" is relative to previous years
    Harold, the use of the word "surge" is relative to previous years growth. When you are experiencing negative growth for multiple years, and then suddenly grow by 900 people, that is a pretty sizable surge. Now, granted, its nowhere close to the growth rate of Austin, TX, but it is still substantial. As for Indiana, I wish the author would have included the surrounding suburban towns (GW, Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, etc) because those cities also experienced rather large population growth. Even with all the unreasonable negativity of the commenters on here, Indy is a great place to live. And it is steadily improving. I'm excited to see what the next 10 years will bring.
  • Illegals?
    How much of this "surge" is from illegal immigrants???
  • LOL
    It looks flat to you because you don't understand the meaning of the word SURGE (and have no idea how to interpret Census data, apparently).
  • Looks flat to me
    Surge? Looks flat to me!

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.