Allen County passed another milestone last year – 360,000 residents – largely from having more births than deaths, not from gaining new residents.
The latest population estimates, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, mark a 1.4 percent population increase in the county since the 2010 census. It also comes only four years after the county reached the 350,000 benchmark.
Most northeast Indiana counties reported population increases. Adams, Huntington and Steuben counties showed slight declines.
The annually updated estimates reflect the population on July 1, 2012.
Allen Countys population gain surpassed the statewide 0.8 percent increase since 2010. Allen ranked 11th among counties in population gains, which commonly include those around Indianapolis and those that are home to the states largest colleges, including Monroe and Tippecanoe.
Counties north and west of Indianapolis were the fastest-growing, a trend seen for many years. In fact, Hamilton County north of Indianapolis was the 55th fastest-growing among the nations large counties, with a 5.4 percent population increase. Hamilton has about 289,500 residents.
Births over deaths played the main role in increased population in Hoosier counties that showed gains. Still, 16,000 immigrants made up nearly two of every 10 new residents, according to the estimates.
Sixty percent of Indianas 92 counties recorded population declines totaling nearly 16,000 people. For those, births over deaths and a slight increase from immigration were not nearly enough to offset the departure of more than 28,000 residents.
Nationally, many of the fastest-growing counties and metropolitan areas in the last year were in or near the Great Plains, according to the Census Bureau.
The energy boom in many Great Plains states has attracted workers.
After a long period of out-migration, some parts of the Great Plains – from just south of the Canadian border all the way down to West Texas – are experiencing rapid population growth, Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureaus acting director, said in a news release. There are probably many factors fueling this growth on the prairie, but no doubt the energy boom is playing a role.
For example, Williams and Stark counties in North Dakota, experiencing an oil boom, were among the top five fastest-growing counties between 2011 and 2012. In addition, Williams County, N.D., with about 26,700 people, was the fastest-growing county between 2010 and 2012.