A new U.S. Census Bureau estimate shows that Indiana's population grew by nearly 32,000 residents this year, which a demographer calls the state's strongest annual gain in nearly a decade.
Indiana's population increased this year to almost 6,691,900 people, which is less than half a percentage point climb from last year's estimate, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
"These are relatively good numbers for Indiana," said Matthew Kinghorn, a demographer at Indiana University. "The growth of 31,796 residents is Indiana's strongest annual gain since 2009."
Indiana's annual growth rate outpaced its neighbors' and ranks 23rd across the country, he said.
Neighboring Kentucky's population grew by 0.33 percent from last year, while Michigan's increased by 0.2 percent. But Illinois saw a drop in population by 0.35 percent, marking the fifth straight year of population loss for the state.
Indiana's population growth was driven by stronger net in-migration, with a net inflow of nearly 12,800 residents this year, according to Kinghorn.
The overall U.S. population grew by 0.6 percent in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Across the country, there's been a noticeable decline in births and increase in deaths in recent years due to demographic shifts among baby boomers and millennials. Younger generations are putting off having children.
"Many states have seen fewer births and more deaths in recent years," said Sandra Johnson, a demographer and statistician in the federal census bureau's population division. "If those states are not gaining from either domestic or international migration, they will experience either low population growth or outright decline."