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Indiana sees stronger population growth in 2023

For Immediate Release Mar 14, 2024

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — After two years of comparatively slow growth through the pandemic era, Indiana’s population gains in 2023 nearly matched its average annual increase of 30,170 residents from 2010 to 2020, according to analysis from the Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

Matthew Kinghorn Matthew Kinghorn. Photo by John Anderson, Indiana University

According to the latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Indiana added 29,925 residents in 2023 to reach a total population of 6.86 million.

“Indiana’s growth was fueled by another year of exceptionally high net in-migration,” said Matt Kinghorn, senior demographer at the Indiana Business Research Center, which is part of a national network of state data centers and serves as Indiana’s official representative to the U.S. Census Bureau on matters relating to the census and population estimates. “The state had a net inflow of nearly 22,500 residents last year, which is the third consecutive year this measure topped the 20,000-residents mark. For context, we estimate the state had an average net in-migration of 9,100 people per year last decade.”

In 2023, there were nearly 7,510 more births than deaths in Indiana. This level of natural population increase is a significant improvement over the previous two years but remains well below the pre-pandemic norm, Kinghorn added. Indiana had an average natural increase of roughly 21,150 residents per year from 2010 to 2019.

Indiana’s rural rebound

One notable shift in Indiana’s demographic trends over the past three years is that population growth has become more evenly distributed around the state.

The state’s 23 rural counties — counties that are not designated as being part of either a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget — combined for a 0.2% increase last year. From 2010 to 2020, by contrast, rural Indiana declined by 2.3%.

Rural Indiana’s population growth in 2023 was driven by a combined net inflow of nearly 1,630 residents, marking the third consecutive year these counties as a group posted a positive net in-migration. On a per capita basis, rural Indiana’s 3.6 net in-migrants per 1,000 residents surpassed the combined net migration rates for the state’s 44 metro-area counties (3.4 per 1,000 residents) and its 25 micropolitan counties (2.7 per 1,000).

However, overall population growth for the state’s rural counties was dampened by a natural decrease of nearly 890 residents last year, which translates to a natural change rate of -1.9 per 1,000 residents. As a group, the state’s mid-sized counties — or micropolitan areas — also registered more deaths than births in 2023 with a natural change rate of -0.8 per 1,000 residents. Meanwhile, Indiana’s metro-area counties as a group had a natural increase of nearly 9,250 residents, or 1.7 per 1,000 residents.

In all, 74 of Indiana’s 92 counties had a net in-migration in 2023, yet only 28 counties had a natural population increase.

Around Indiana

Indiana’s six fastest-growing counties are all suburban communities in the Indianapolis metro area. Hancock County set the pace for growth with a 3.7% population gain in 2023, followed by Boone (2.4%), Hendricks (1.8%), Hamilton (1.7%), Morgan (1.3%) and Johnson (1.3%) counties.

Rush, White, Clark and Warrick counties round out the state’s 10 fastest-growing communities, each with a growth rate of 1% in 2023.

In terms of the largest numeric gains, Hamilton County once again led the way in 2023 by adding 6,182 residents — a level of growth nearly twice as large as runner-up Hendricks County’s increase of 3,268 residents. Other top gainers included Hancock (3,049), Allen (2,901) and Johnson (2,133) counties.

All told, 66 of Indiana’s 92 counties posted a population gain in 2023.

For the third straight year, Marion County had the state’s largest population decline with a loss of 763 residents — a 0.1% drop.

Marion County’s population now sits at nearly 968,460 residents, which ranks as the 54th most-populous county in the U.S.

Indiana’s metropolitan areas

The 11-county Indianapolis-Carmel-Greenwood metro area added 17,807 residents last year, accounting for 60% of Indiana’s net growth in 2023. The Indy metro area is home to nearly 2.14 million people, which represents 31% of the state’s population and ranks as the nation’s 34th-largest metro area out of 387.

Marion County has a population of nearly 968,460 residents. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University Marion County has a population of nearly 968,460 residents. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Compared to large metro-area peers in neighboring states, the Indy area’s growth rate of 0.8% essentially matched that of Columbus, Ohio. Meanwhile, growth rates in the metro areas of Cincinnati (0.6%), Louisville (0.3%), Cleveland (-0.1%), Detroit (-0.1%) and Chicago (-0.2%) lagged well behind.

Other Indiana metro areas to show relatively strong growth include Fort Wayne (0.7%), Columbus (0.7%) and the Indiana portion of the Louisville area (0.6%).

At the other end of the spectrum, the Elkhart-Goshen (-0.2%), Bloomington (-0.1%) and Michigan City (-0.1%) metro areas lost population last year.

For more information about these estimates, visit the STATS Indiana’s Population data. The Indiana Business Research Center receives support from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development for its census work, including for the award-winning websites Hoosiers by the Numbers and STATS Indiana.

Media Contact

Kelley School of Business

Melissa Thomas

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