Indiana gained nearly 24,000 new residents during 2020, a slight increase that continued the state’s ongoing trend of slow population growth, the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual estimate shows.
The Hoosier state’s population grew to 6.75 million, up from 6.73 million in 2019 — a 23,943-person increase, according to the federal agency's estimates.
Adjacent Illinois’ population fell by 79,487 residents to 12.6 million, the second biggest loss nationwide after only New York state, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
The official results of the 2020 Census have not been released yet, and the new numbers reflect the Census Bureau’s annual estimate and not the official count.
The annual estimates show that northwest Indiana has been gaining population for the first time in years, adding an estimated 2,102 more residents last year.
That increase reverses a long-running trend that followed deindustrialization and a loss of jobs at the region's steel mills, Micah Pollak, an Indiana University Northwest assistant professor of economics, in a recent article for the Indiana Business Research Center.
He wrote that better public transportation from the expansion of the South Shore Line commuter rail line, “a wider range of high-end retail, restaurants and breweries” and expanded bicycle trails and green spaces now “allow the Region to better meet the needs and expectations of the next generation.”
“While Northwest Indiana was once a region many residents hoped to one day leave, we are now seeing more people return, choose to remain here, or be attracted into the region,” Pollack wrote.