BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – For the second consecutive year, Whitestown in Boone County and Westfield in neighboring Hamilton County ranked as Indiana’s fastest-growing places among those with a population of at least 5,000 residents, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
These two Indianapolis-area suburbs both grew by roughly 5.2 percent in 2018. For Whitestown, this marks the eighth year in a row that it can claim the title of the state’s fastest-growing locale. Its population has nearly tripled over this span, from 3,132 in 2010 to 8,627 in 2018.
Other fast-growing communities include Lake County’s St. John (4.9 percent growth in 2018), as well as Avon (4.4 percent) and Plainfield (4.3 percent) in Hendricks County.
In all, 17 of the state’s 20 fastest-growing communities are found in either the Indianapolis metro area or the Indiana portion of the Chicago metro area. Outside these areas, Westville in LaPorte County (2.4 percent), Auburn in DeKalb County (1.7 percent) and Goshen in Elkhart County (1.7 percent) set the pace in 2018.
In terms of numeric change, Indiana’s two largest cities posted the state’s most sizeable gains.
Indianapolis added 5,235 residents in 2018, while Fort Wayne’s population grew by 2,178 people. A trio of Hamilton County communities – Westfield (2,046 increase) Fishers (1,679) and Carmel (1,521) – round out the state’s top five largest gains.
With a population of 867,125 residents, Indianapolis was the nation’s 17th-largest city in 2018, ranking just behind Charlotte, North Carolina (872,498), and ahead of Seattle, Washington (744,955). Fort Wayne’s population reached 267,633 in 2018 and ranks as the 77th largest city in the United States.
Evansville (population 117,963) and South Bend (101,860) are the only other Indiana cities with more than 100,000 residents. Both of these cities saw a slight dip in population in 2018, with Evansville losing 325 residents last year and South Bend down 108 people.
Carmel remained the state’s fifth-largest city, as the addition of 1,521 new residents in 2018 brought its population to 93,510. Fishers ranked just behind its neighbor, as an uptick of 1,679 residents raised its population to 93,362.
The remainder of Indiana’s 10 largest cities are Bloomington (84,981), Hammond (75,795), Gary (75,282) and Lafayette (72,168).
Twelve of Indiana’s 20 largest cities posted a population gain in 2018. Among the cities that lost population, Hammond had the largest decline, losing an estimated 623 residents. Other cities with relatively large drops include Gary (decline of 599 residents) and Muncie (down 422).
“Looking at differences between urban and rural communities, the data show that most Hoosiers live in cities or towns,” said Matt Kinghorn, senior demographic analyst at the Indiana Business Research Center. “Nearly 34 percent of the state’s population lived in a city with a population of at least 50,000 in 2018. Meanwhile, 20 percent of Hoosiers lived in an incorporated place of between 10,000 and 50,000 residents, while another 12 percent lived in a city or town with fewer than 10,000 residents.”
In all, two-thirds of Indiana’s 6.67 million residents in 2018 lived in incorporated places, while the remaining 2.2 million Hoosier residents lived in unincorporated areas of the state. Indiana’s cities and towns as a group accounted for 79 percent of the state’s total population growth in 2018.
For more information about these estimates, visit the STATS Indiana Population data page. The Indiana Business Research Center is part of a national network of state data centers and acts as Indiana’s official state representative to the Census Bureau on matters relating to the census and population estimates. It receives support from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development for this work, including for the award-winning websites Hoosiers by the Numbers and STATS Indiana, as well as Census in Indiana, a site dedicated to helping communities ensure a complete count in 2020.
Note: The Census Bureau adjusts its population estimates for sub-county areas each year to account for city and town boundary changes (e.g., annexations). Therefore, boundary changes do not contribute to any population changes reported in this release.