Slower suburban growth tied to poor economy

The sluggish economy appears to have slowed population movement in some parts of Indiana, especially the suburbs of Indianapolis,
a demographer said.

Recent U.S. Census Bureau population estimates show that the populations of Marion, Hamilton and Hendricks counties grew
faster than any other Indiana counties, Indiana University demographer Matthew Kinghorn said.

But among the three only Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, had a higher growth rate in 2009 than in previous years.
Marion County added 7,770 residents last year, which is more than double its annual average increase from 2000 to 2008.

Hamilton County added 8,350 residents, down from an average increase of 10,700 the nine previous years. Hendricks County
grew by 2,780 residents in 2009, down from its average of 4,060 people per year.

Kinghorn, who works for the university's Indiana Business Research Center, said Marion County's growth compared with
its suburbs could signal that people were delaying major decisions.

"What drives the variation in population trends is changes in migration—and there are fewer people moving out
of Marion County," Kinghorn said last week.

Other Midwestern urban centers including Cincinnati, Louisville, Ky., Milwaukee, St. Louis and Columbus, Ohio, also grew
faster in 2009, while growth in suburbs slowed.

"That's just one of the effects of the recession," Kinghorn said. "You've had slumping housing sales
and tighter credit. Young families are putting off moves to suburban counties because of anxiety over job security. People
in retirement years might choose not to move because of diminished retirement accounts."

Kinghorn said 10 of the 15 leading Indiana counties for more people moving in than out from 2000 to 2008 saw that growth
fall off last year. Those that continued strong in-migration were Boone County near Indianapolis, the university communities
of Tippecanoe and Monroe counties, and Clark and Floyd counties in the Louisville metro area.

Hamilton County led the state in population growth by numbers and percentage between 2000 and 2009. Its 96,550 new residents
since 2000 represent a 53-percent increase, making it the 21st fastest growing county in the nation and the fourth fastest
in the Midwest.

Mike Reuter, chief financial officer of the Hamilton Southeastern district, said the district northeast of Indianapolis forecasts
its enrollment will grow by 800 next year.

"We're slowing in comparison to when we were adding 1,250 kids a year, but we're still growing," Reuter

Six Indiana counties now have populations greater than 200,000. Marion County, with a population 890,880, ranked as the nation's
56th largest county in 2009. The next largest counties were Lake (494,210), Allen (353,890), Hamilton (279,290), St. Joseph
(267,610) and Elkhart (200,500).

Grant County in north central Indiana had the state's largest population decline between 2000 and 2009 at 4,600, followed
by neighboring Delaware County (down 3,580), Wayne County (down 3,550) and another Grant neighbor, Wabash County (down 2,400).

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