Eco. Dev. group: Northeast Indiana a “magnet” for talent

(Darrin Wright/1190 WOWO 107.5 FM)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Press Release): Northeast Indiana is quickly becoming a magnet for talent according to population statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The population in Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties increased by exactly 5,461 people or at a population growth rate of .7% from 2018 to 2019.

As Northeast Indiana works to grow the region’s population to one million residents by 2030, the new population change information shows an uptick of regional population growth. For the second straight year, the region demonstrated positive net domestic migration. Northeast Indiana’s growth rate outpaced the state of Indiana, several surrounding states such as Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, as well as the Midwest region as a whole.

“With a foundation of trust and collaboration, leaders in Northeast Indiana are working together to make Northeast Indiana a magnet for the best businesses and talent,” said John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “We are very encouraged to see that our talent attraction and retention efforts are gaining momentum.  Achieving our Vision 2030 goals is more important now than ever, as we face the COVID-19 challenge together.”

The top three counties that experienced the highest growth rate percent change compared to the previous year were Allen, Huntington, and Wells counties, respectively. This growth is attributed to three types of population growth: natural population growth (births minus deaths), international migration and domestic migration.

“Wells County is growing because of strong investment and leadership. Transformational quality of life projects like the Parlor City Plaza and strong job opportunities like Inteva Products’ securing 400 jobs in Bluffton attract talent to our county because individuals understand that a person can live, work and play in Wells County comfortably,” said Wells County Commissioner Blake Gerber. “Our engaged community and outstanding school system are also critical to attract the talent we need to grow our county.”

Northeast Indiana Population Growth (2018-2019):

County 2019 2018 % change
Adams 35,777 35,595 0.5%
Allen 379,299 375,079 1.1%
DeKalb 43,475 43,208 0.6%
Huntington 36,520 36,243 0.8%
Kosciusko 79,456 79,416 0.1%
LaGrange 39,614 39,375 0.6%
Noble 47,744 47,543 0.4%
Steuben 34,594 34,487 0.3%
Wabash 30,996 31,198 -0.6%
Wells 28,296 28,083 0.8%
Whitley 33,964 34,047 -0.2%
Northeast Indiana 789,735 784,274 0.7%
Indiana 6,732,219 6,695,497 0.5%
United States 328,239,523 326,687,501 0.5%

John Urbahns, president and CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., said Allen County’s population growth rate is more than twice the nation’s growth rate. This momentum must continue in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace, he added.

“Allen County plays an important role in the region’s growth as the home to Northeast Indiana’s vibrant city center. Fort Wayne is experiencing tremendous momentum, which is key to developing a nationally-recognized economy,” said Urbahns.

Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County Economic Development, said Huntington is investing in the community to attract talent innovatively and creatively, and a good example of that investment is in the UB Block in downtown Huntington.

“In Huntington County, our efforts to restabilize our industrial base gave us the ability to grow our county and attract talent in new ways. People must be drawn to our cities and towns, seeing them as desirable, vibrant and relevant places to make a life,” said Wickersham. “This population data is also another reminder on why it’s so important to participate in the Census and why all of us must insist we are counted.”

The population growth data is released annually by the U.S. Census Bureau, and was calculated for the region by the Purdue University Fort Wayne Community Research Institute.

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