News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 19, 2013

Valley following diversity path of nation, Indiana

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Like much of Indiana, the majority white population in the Wabash Valley is on the decline, while minority populations are on the increase.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released county-level data on the change in population by race and ethnicity.

In the six-county area of Clay, Greene, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo for 2010 through 2012, the overall population increased in only Vigo County, which saw a gain of 580 people overall. During that two-year period, however, the white population declined 73 people, while the black population grew 158, the Asian population grew 186 people and the Hispanic population grew 202 people. The number of people considering themselves biracial grew by 87.

That population shift is quite evident in the Vigo County Community Schools system, which must track the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body.

“I think that it’s kind of a natural increase that we’re seeing nationwide,” said Ray Azar, director of student services, about the changing demographic. “We have more Hispanic and biracial children. And we do see a diverse background, especially with Indiana State University here and bringing in diversity. At last count, I think we had 54 languages represented in our schools.”

School Superintendent Danny Tanoos notes that as diversity increases, the students are learning that their hometown is not isolated.

“Terre Haute really mirrors the country in many ways,” Tanoos said, “ and I think our students have to get used to being around all kinds of cultures and ethnicity.”

In Clay, Greene, Parke, Sullivan and Vermillion counties, the total white population declined from 2010 to 2012. The black or African-American population grew in Clay, Greene, Parke, Vermillion and Vigo counties, but not in Sullivan County.

The Asian population grew in Clay, Greene, Sullivan and Vigo counties, but not in Parke and Vermillion counties.

The Hispanic population grew in Greene, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties, stayed the same in Parke County, and dropped in Clay County.

Major growth occurred in each county in the category of biracial and multiracial population.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.