• Kirk Gaw

Where Are The Young Going? A Study By Indiana University Public Policy Institute

When comparing Northern Indiana cities and towns with other regions of the State one difference you will find is that a lot of young people are not staying in the North urban areas? You find Central and Southern Indiana urban families retaining their young? But why not in the northern "rust belt?" The Walkerton Page would like to provide you a series of ideas about "Thriving Communities in Indiana" from their 2016 study.

(From Indiana University Public Policy Institute – Thriving Communities Thriving State – March 2016)

Rural and smalltowns:Where did our homegrown citizens go?

(Hint: somewhere else, especially young people). From April 2010 to July 2014, rural communities lost 21,285 more people than they gained through domestic (intra-United States) migration. Perhaps the greatest demographic concern for many rural communities is the out-migration of rural youth to other places within the state and nation. Between 2009 and 2013 Indiana’s rural counties lost more than 3,000 residents to Indiana’s urban counties, nearly 2,000 residents to mid-sized counties, and nearly 3,000 residents to other states (see Figure 3). Indiana’s rural counties, in the aggregate, have averaged a net loss of nearly 3,500 residents per year between 2000 and 2014. Many rural communities disproportionately lose population as rural-educated youth enter college and then do notreturn to the community after college.This is both an outcome and a cause of economic development

While rural and small towns have charm and economic potential, they face significant challenges. Rural and small towns: Stable population, changing demographics. From 2010 to 2050, rural county population in Indiana is expected to remain relatively stable (around 1.6 million individuals), compared with roughly 15 percent growth elsewhere in the state. But rural demographic composition is expected to change considerably. In rural areas, the 65+ population is expected to grow by nearly 62 percent, while every other age cohort is expected to decline. In the 45-to-64 age group, an age when many grow into community leadership roles, rural Indiana is expected to lose nearly 20 percent of its 2010 population by 2050.

Rural and smalltowns:Where in the world do our citizens come from? (Hint: home and abroad.) Most Indiana counties, and nearly all rural counties, are experiencing an increase in foreign-born populations. BetweenApril 2010 and July 2014, rural communities experienced a net increase of 2,495 individuals from international locations. One in 59 people currently living in rural Indiana is foreign-born and one in 50 have limited English language proficiency.

Rural and smalltowns: Natural beauty and unique structures worth preserving and developing. Many of Indiana’s rural and small towns benefit from tremendous natural assets, a strong community and civic heritage, unique spaces and structures, and a history of civic investment.All of these assets can serve as the basis for attracting a talented workforce, developing local businesses, and energizing local economies. While rural and small towns have charm and economic potential, they face significant challenges.

- "Thriving Communities Thriving State" Indiana University

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