Despite anti-immigration rhetoric surrounding political campaigns, Indiana's Hispanic population continues to grow, though not as fast as in past years.
And while its numbers are still relatively small, the Asian population continues to be the fastest-growing ethnic group in the state and nation, according to recently released census population estimates.
The 2016 estimates also show the nation's median age – where half of the population is younger and half older – rose from 35.3 years in 2000 to 37.9 last year. Indiana recorded similar numbers, while Allen County's median age rose from 34.2 to 35.9 during that period.
The baby boomer generation is largely responsible, Peter Borsella, a demographer in the Census Bureau's Population Division, said in a media release. Baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011. Residents age 65 and over accounted for 15.2 percent of the U.S. population last year, up from 12.4 percent in 2000.
Allen County is home to an estimated 27,000 Hispanics, an increase of about 4,000 since 2010, or 17.8 percent. Allen has nearly two-thirds of northeast Indiana's 45,000 Hispanics. Statewide, Hispanics increased an estimated 15.4 percent since 2010 to about 450,000.
In real numbers, the Indiana Hispanic population has grown an average of 10,000 a year since 2000, said Matt Kinghorn, an economic analyst in Bloomington for the Indiana Business Research Center.
“But if you compare that to between 2000 and 2010, it was about 17,500-a-year growth,” he said. “So it's still growing but not growing as quickly as it had the last decade.”
As reasons, Kinghorn points to less Hispanic immigration to the U.S. and less state-to-state migration within the U.S.
Meanwhile, Indiana's Asian population has grown an estimated 39.4 percent to 173,109 since 2010. The Asian population grew 44.8 percent in Allen County to more than 16,000. The county is home to a large Burmese refugee population, which adds to that count.
While Asians make up only about 2 percent of the state population, their numbers have picked up pace this decade compared with Hispanics, blacks and non-Hispanic whites, whose populations have slowed, Kinghorn said.
Indiana's white population has remained nearly level this decade. Blacks have seen increases of a little more than 1 percent each year, and Hispanics have had yearly increases of 2 to 3 percent.
Still, Indiana remains largely non-Hispanic white with about 80 percent of those ages 18 to 64 in that category.
While much of the nation is more diverse, the Hoosier State is slowly changing. Those identifying as non-Hispanic white make up 71 percent of those younger than 18, Kinghorn said.
“So you're seeing that we're getting more diverse and we're getting more diverse from the ground up,” he added. “It's just the minority populations are a lot younger.”
Population by race/ethnicity in northeast Indiana counties:
Source: U.S. Census Bureau