Indiana’s population grew by more than 31,000 people this year

A sign on the Borman Expressway welcomes people to Indiana. The state added more than 31,000 residents this year.

Indiana’s population grew by less than half a percentage point in 2018, putting it in the middle of the pack nationally for population growth, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimate.

The Hoosier state’s population grew to 6,691,878 people in 2018, up 0.48 percent from 6,660,082 people in 2017. Indiana has gained an estimated 207,817 people since the last official Census in 2010, a 3.2 percent increase.

"These are relatively good numbers for Indiana. The growth of 31,796 residents is Indiana's strongest annual gain since 2009," said Matthew Kinghorn, a demographer at Indiana University. "Improved growth was driven entirely by stronger net in-migration to the state. The net inflow of 12,782 residents this year is the state's strongest annual net in-migration since 2006. Indiana's annual growth rate of 0.48 percent outpaced each of its neighbors, and ranked 23rd among states."

Overall U.S. population grew by 0.6 percent in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 3.8 million more people were born and 2.8 million died, but births have been declining and deaths increasing in recent years because of demographic shifts as baby boomers die and millennials put off childbirth.

As a result of the broader societal trends, natural population increase has plunged from 1.8 million in 2010 to 1.04 million this year. It also dropped from 1.12 million the previous year.

“Many states have seen fewer births and more deaths in recent years,” said Sandra Johnson, a demographer/statistician in the Population Division of the Census Bureau. “If those states are not gaining from either domestic or international migration, they will experience either low population growth or outright decline.”

International migration was up slightly with 978,826 immigrants coming to the United States in 2018 compared to 953,233 the year before.

Among neighboring states, Kentucky's population grew by 0.33 percent, Michigan's by 0.2 percent, and Ohio's by 0.22 percent year-over-year. Illinois's population fell by 0.35 percent as compared to 2017.

Neighboring Illinois was the sixth most populous state with 12,741,080 residents, but it also lost population for the fifth straight year. Illinois ranked second in estimated population loss nationwide, shedding 45,116 residents, behind only New York.

Illinois has, however, lost 157,189 residents since 2013, a drop of 1.21 percent and roughly the equivalent of losing a city the size of Joliet, Naperville or Rockford.

The nine states that lost population in 2018 were New York, Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi, Alaska, Connecticut and Wyoming, according to the Census Bureau.

Nevada and Idaho were the fastest-growing states in the nation, gaining an average of 2.1 percent.


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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.