Tippecanoe County bucked statewide trends last year when it saw more people move in than out. Between 2015 and 2016, the county saw a net population increase of approximately 1,100 people, according to recently-released Census data.
The state as a whole lost more than a thousand people over that same period.
Tippecanoe County, the seventh most populous county in the state, was part of a trend of people migrating from rural to urban areas.
Greater Lafayette Commerce President Scott Walker says it’s because that’s where the jobs are.
“If you look at the workforce numbers, we’ve grown in workforce too,” Walker says. “We have more people employed here who live here than we have ever in our past. I think that people are coming to fill jobs that we have.”
The so-called “donut” counties comprising suburban Indianapolis saw large net population gains, particularly Hamilton County, which grew the most of any of the state’s 92 counties.
According to the data, most of the people flowing into Tippecanoe County aren’t from other counties or states—they’re from different countries. In fact, the county’s domestic net migration went down, while the international net migration grew. In excess of 11 thousand more immigrants moved into the county than moved out within the year.
Indiana Business Research Center demographer Matt Kinghorn says that’s a trend across the state.
“If it weren’t for international migration, then Indiana would have seen a strong outmigration for quite a long time,” he says.
Kinghorn says that’s keeping the economy afloat.
“There’s always a churn in population, so if we’re going to have people a lot of people moving out, it’s always good to have future labor force move in.”
Kinghorn says Northerners and Midwesterners are increasingly moving to southern states such as Florida and Arizona, both of which saw big population booms.
He also says he doubts the bump in international populations is student-fueled, since similar movement is being reported in counties without a university anchor.