Northeast Indiana’s population is growing, according to statistics released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2018, Northeast Indiana’s regional population grew by nearly 5,000 people.

Northeast Indiana’s population increased by exactly 4,874 people. The top three counties that experienced the highest growth rate were DeKalb, Whitley and Allen Counties, respectively. This growth is attributed to three types of population growth: natural population growth of (births minus deaths), international migration and domestic migration.

Michael Galbraith, director of the Road to One Million for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, connected population growth to the workforce shortage the region is currently experiencing.

“Northeast Indiana’s number one employer need is increasing our talent pool. On average, there are more than 6,000 unfilled jobs in the region on the Northeast Indiana Jobs portal. For our region to thrive in today’s global economy, we must grow our population to 1 million people by 2030. We must aggressively recruit and retain talented individuals in our region and across the country so that they can be a part of Northeast Indiana’s growth and momentum,” said Galbraith.

John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said the numbers released today illustrates that the region’s strategies to attract talent are working.

“You cannot get this type of collective change unless you have a region that is working together to address workforce issues critical to the success of our regional economy. We know this type of change doesn’t happen overnight. It requires trust and collaboration to create lasting change like the investment in quality of place in all 11 counties through the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority,” said Sampson. “We have stemmed the tide on net domestic out-migration. Now is not the time to rest. We must do more together, faster, and build on this momentum.”

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, outpacing the state of Indiana and other Midwestern states including Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. Four counties in Northeast Indiana outpaced the nation’s population growth rate of .62 percent.

Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel said the population growth numbers explain why investment in quality of life is important and regional collaboration is critical.

“Northeast Indiana is outpacing the growth of many other communities in the Midwest, and Columbia City plays an important role in this growth. We’ve worked to invest in our city’s quality of life to make our community a place where people want to live,” said Mayor Daniel.

Anton King, executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership, said the growth in DeKalb County is positive for the county and the region.

“As Northeast Indiana works together to invest in quality of life on the Road to One Million, it’s encouraging to see so many counties in the region grow. DeKalb County’s strong leaders and business growth position our county to attract and retain talent effectively. We are absolutely headed in the right direction.”

As an effort to bolster the region’s population growth efforts, the Regional Partnership launched Make It Your Own, the region’s brand to attract talent. Visit to learn more about talent recruitment resources for employers.

The Waynedale News Staff
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