Ind.’s growing child population unique in Midwest

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Indiana is getting grayer, but it’s the only state in the industrial heartland or the Northeast with a growing number of children — and they are increasingly Hispanic, Asian or black, new census figures released Thursday show.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana is getting grayer, but it’s the only state in the industrial heartland or the Northeast with a growing number of children — and they are increasingly Hispanic, Asian or black, new census figures released Thursday show. The number of white children 17 and younger in Indiana fell by more than 95,000, or 7.5 percent, from 2000 to 2010, but the minority child population more than made up for the decline by growing by nearly 130,000, Matt Kinghorn, an economic analyst at the Indiana Business Research Center in Bloomington, said Wednesday. The child population grew by 78,000 among Hispanic families, 26,000 for multi-race children, nearly 13,000 for blacks, and 11,500 for Asians. Nearly 1 in 10 children in Indiana last year was Hispanic. Non-Hispanic whites make up 74 percent of the child population and blacks account for 11 percent. Indiana’s overall 17-and-under population grew by 2.2 percent while those in all other states in the industrial heartland and the Northeast fell, Kinghorn said. That age group grew the most in the South and the West "Indiana was the one state out of that large region that posted an increase," he said. "It’s really a harbinger of Indiana’s increasing diversity." Indiana’s median age, like that for all states, was higher as the baby boom generation grows older. Indiana’s jumped from 35.2 years to 37.0 over the past decade, but it’s still about two years younger than Michigan and Ohio and one year younger than Kentucky while slightly higher than Illinois. Indiana’s economy in general has outperformed its neighbors, and central Indiana’s in particular is strong and attractive to families, Kinghorn said. Only 24 of Indiana’s 92 counties had more people under 18 last year than in 2000, and leading the state were Hamilton, Hendricks, Johnson and Marion counties, all in the state’s center. Central Indiana also is a magnet for those entering the job force and raising young families. Among the 18-44 age group, only 10 counties had more people in this age group in 2010 than a decade earlier, and five were in the doughnut counties surrounding Indianapolis. The others were the university communities of Tippecanoe (Purdue) and Monroe counties (Bloomington), Clark and Switzerland along the Ohio River, and Porter in northwest Indiana. Overall, though, these younger adults declined 3.7 percent as baby boomers aged out of the group, while the number of Indiana residents ages 45 to 64 rose by 27 percent and the over-64 age group grew by nearly 12 percent. "It’s showing the predictable aging of population that’s been happening for a while and we’ve been predicting for a while," Kinghorn said. A Census Bureau embargo on the latest data until 12:01 a.m. Thursday restricted the number of people who were available to comment on the data. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development, which had pre-embargo access to the data, declined to comment on it Wednesday. Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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