TERRE HAUTE — For the first time in six years, Vigo County’s estimated population is on the increase, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The increase, while slight, is attributed to an increase in the birth rate, plus an influx of international residents, offsetting the exit of residents from the county, according to the Census Bureau.
Overall, the county’s population increased by 274 people, or a 2.7-percent population increase from July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006.
The county still remains in a deficient from previous population estimates, losing more than 2,800 residents since April 1, 2000. The Census Bureau had projected Vigo County’s population would increase about 1,000 people from 2000 to 2005.
Vigo County’s estimated population for July 1, 2006, is 103,009. The Census Bureau currently projects the county’s population to be more than 107,100 in 2010.
“I would say the declines were unexpectedly big, but economic or employment trends may be reversed. I would say this is good news for the county to have the first increase since 2000,” said Matt Kinghorn, economic research analyst at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
“The biggest thing that jumps out is the decrease in internal migration, which is folks moving around in the United States,” Kinghorn said.
“In 2005, Vigo County had lost 482 residents, so 482 people moved somewhere else in the U.S. than moved in, but in 2006, that net migration loss was only 98, the lowest of this decade,” Kinghorn said.
In 2004, the net migration loss was about 1,300 residents.
“When you combine the internal migration with the international migration, you get the total migration number. Vigo County gained 28 people for 2006. That is the first time since 2000 the county has seen a positive migration,” Kinghorn said.
The number of births versus deaths has been on the increase in Vigo County since 2004, when there were 100 more births than deaths. That increased to 215 more births than deaths in 2005 and 225 more births than deaths for 2006 (1,288 births to 1,063 deaths.).
Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp., said a stronger economy in the county most likely is part of the growth.
“I think certainly the strengthening of our local economy can be attributed to some of that positive growth, although small. With some of the new manufacturers who have come into the community coupled with our long-time manufacturers, such as Pfizer, Sony DADC and Bemis, some of the growth they have had, all helps to give people a reason to live here and that is employment opportunities,” Witt said.
“Our population peaked around 1970 and has been on a downward spiral since until most recently with this data, so perhaps we are on the way back up a little bit, certainly it has leveled off,” Witt said.
“By having a base population that is stable or growing a bit, it is positive for so many reasons. It is more people paying local property taxes, which means less for each individual. In terms of federal funding for initiatives, a growing population helps in that regard. The more children we have enrolled in our school corporation, that bodes well for their funding. It is a positive development,” Witt said.
In 2005, manufacturing was the largest of 20 major sectors in the county, accounting for nearly 16 percent of all jobs in the county, according to STATS Indiana, from the Indiana Business Research Center at IU’s Kelley School of Business.
Manufacturing had an average wage per job of $45,375. And Vigo County’s per capita income grew by 14.3 percent between 1995 and 2005 (adjusted for inflation), according to STATS Indiana.
In figures released earlier this week, the Census Bureau reports the nation’s minority population now tops 100 million. The minority population is 100.7 million residents, according to national and state estimates by race, origin, gender and age, the Census Bureau reports. A year ago, the minority population totaled 98.3 million.
“About one in three U.S. residents is a minority,” said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon. “To put this into perspective, there are more minorities in this country today than there were people in the United States in 1910. In fact, the minority population in the U.S. is larger than the total population of all but 11 countries.”
The population in 1910 was 92.2 million. On Oct. 17, 2006, the Census Bureau reported that the nation’s overall population had topped 300 million.
California, according to 2006 figures, had a minority population of 20.7 million — 21 percent of the nation’s total. Texas had a minority population of 12.2 million — 12 percent of the U.S. total population.
There were other milestones reached, as well, during the July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006, period: The nation’s black population surpassed 40 million, while the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander group reached the 1 million mark.
Hispanic remained the largest minority group, with 44.3 million on July 1, 2006 — 14.8 percent of the total population. Black was the second-largest minority group, totaling 40.2 million in 2006. They were followed by Asian (14.9 million), American Indian and Alaska Native (4.5 million), and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (1 million). The population of non-Hispanic whites who indicated no other race totaled 198.7 million in 2006.
The Hispanic population is also Indiana’s fastest growing minority, Kinghorn said. It grew by 40.2 percent from 2000 to 2006. The state’s Asian population followed closely behind with a growth of 37.4 percent from 2000 to 2006, compared to 22.9 percent for the nation, Kinghorn said.
The state’s black population grew 9.1 percent, and the white population grew 2.7 percent, each between 2000 to 2006. Indiana’s estimated population is 84 percent non-Hispanic white, compared to 66 percent for the nation, Kinghorn said.
Nationwide, the Hispanic population in 2006 was younger, with a median (equal number above and below) age of 27.4, compared to the population as a whole at 36.4. About a third of the Hispanic population was younger than 18, compared with one-fourth of the total population.
Asian and Black populations, as well as the American Indian and Alaska Native, have younger median ages, compared to the population as a whole. The Asian median age in 2006 was 33.5 and the back median age was 30.1. The American Indian and Alaska Native population median age in 2006 was 31.
The Census Bureau will release data on gender, age and race at the county level in mid- to late July, said spokesman Robert Bernstein.
Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or email@example.com.
By the numbers
Annual estimates of the population of Vigo County from the most recent figures available, July 1, 2006, to April 1, 2000:
July 1, 2006 103,009
July 1, 2005 102,735
July 1, 2004 102,936
July 1, 2003 104,144
July 1, 2002 104,572
July 1, 2001 104,811
April 1, 2000 105,848
Source: U.S Census Bureau. The April 1, 2000, estimate base reflects changes to the Census 2000 population resulting from legal boundary updates as of Jan. 1 of the estimates year, other geographic program changes and Count Question Resolution actions.