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April 2, 2012

IU report: Indiana will gain another 1 million in population by 2050

One-third of Hoosiers likely to live in Indianapolis metropolitan area

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana will continue its transformation from a rural to an urban state, and, like most places, to a grayer state as the baby boom generation proceeds into retirement age over the coming decades.

The state will gain about 1 million in population by 2050, moving from 6.48 million to 7.48 million, according to the latest projections from the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University.

Most of that increase will be in the Indianapolis-Carmel metropolitan area, which added 231,000 residents, or 57 percent of the state’s growth from 2000-2010. “That area will claim up to 70 percent of the state’s growth over the next 40 years,” said Matt Kinghorn, state demographer for the research center at the Kelley School of Business.

By 2050, roughly one in every three Hoosiers will live in the Indianapolis metro area, up from 27 percent in 2010.

Indiana has already gone through a major transformation in age structure and geographic distribution. In 1900, the state’s population was classified as 34 percent urban and 66 percent rural. In 2010, it was 72 percent urban and 28 percent rural, Kinghorn said.

Equally if not more significantly, boomers turning into seniors will add 600,000 people to the state’s senior demographic, turning that sector from 13 percent of the state’s population to 20 percent by 2030.

Kinghorn said that could mean the state will feel a significant impact in areas such as appropriate housing, health care delivery and transportation needs, among other concerns.

Other age groups will decline in their proportion of the state’s population pie but their numbers will still grow. Both Indiana’s child population (age 0 to 14) and its younger adult age group (25 to 44) will increase by 75,000 by 2030, and those around college age will increase by 25,000. Indiana’s older working-age population (45 to 64) will decline by roughly 100,000 over the same period as the baby boom generation moves into retirement.

“One important effect of this graying of the population will be the slowing of Indiana’s population growth rate in the coming decades,” Kinghorn said in a news release accompanying the new projections. “Populations change through migration and through natural increase (the difference between the numbers of births and deaths). While migration plays an important role in population change, natural increase typically accounts for the majority of Indiana’s growth.

“Over the next few decades, both births and deaths are projected to increase, but deaths will rise much faster due to the rapid growth of the senior population. As a result, the natural increase of the population will slow,” he said.

Monroe County is expected to show appreciable growth in the 10 to 40 percent range by 2050 but not as much as the Indianapolis area or the urban sprawl on the Indiana side of the Ohio River, north of Louisville, or outside of Chicago in Northwestern Indiana.

There is potential good news in that Indiana is not aging as rapidly as some of its Midwestern peers and that could prove beneficial in certain sectors of the job market. “Actually we’re a comparatively young state,” Kinghorn said. “In 2010 our median age was 37 while the nation was at 37.2. And we’re about two years younger than neighbors Michigan and Ohio, which is rather significant.”

More decline is anticipated across the medium-sized north and east-central Indiana cities that once contributed significantly to the manufacturing sector of the state’s economy.

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