Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Indiana Not Seeing Economic Refugee Surge from Surrounding States

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette ran an interesting article noting that migration into Indiana had slowed from Illinois. Given the significant press on the troubles in surrounding states, the “Come on IN” campaign, etc. I decided to take a look for myself at Indiana’s migration trends for surrounding states. Here’s the chart:

Indiana migration has remained fairly stable with Ohio and Kentucky. It has seen an uptick in migration from Michigan, which isn’t a surprise at all given that state’s challenges over the last decade. But net in-migration from Illinois has plunged. It’s even below the trough of the last recession. I wouldn’t read too much into that since a lot of the cross border movers are intra-MSA migrants in northwest Indiana. But whatever the dynamics, clearly there isn’t a recent surge of people – note that this has nothing to do with business – across the border form Illinois into Indiana.

Topics: Demographic Analysis

15 Responses to “Indiana Not Seeing Economic Refugee Surge from Surrounding States”

  1. I can’t but help wonder if the spike experienced mid to late in the last decade wasn’t a result from the Toyota truck manufacturing expansion in the southwest extremity of Indiana.

  2. MetroCard says:

    You should do one for individual metropolitan areas. I’d be curious to see if the Fort Wayne area has more of an Ohio pull as opposed to the other states. Same with South Bend and Michigan, Evansville and Kentucky, etc.

  3. BambooJoe says:

    Southeast Indiana has been growing as a result of the Cincinnati MSA pushing out that direction. It’s simply people moving from the west side Suburb of Harrison, Ohio across an imaginary line into West Harrison, Indiana. It’s really not knew people moving into the region. It’s simply people moving to a the latest suburban development tract. They’ve also seen an increase in Indiana from The Ohio River Casino Boats driving some development. This may stop though as the State of Ohio has approved Casino’s and one is now being built in Downtown Cincinnati. In General though this has been a wash for the Region. I don’t see this as a rush to move into Indiana.

    This is much the same relationship Northern Kentucky has with Ohio inside the Cincinnati MSA.

  4. Matthew Hall says:

    Aaron makes the point that much of this is MSA related. Certainly in the Chicago MSA and maybe at the other end in the Cincinnati MSA. People seem to be slipping into Indiana around the margins, but the number placing their future in Indiana fully, ie. moving to Indianapolis from other Midwest states, seems quite modest.

  5. Vlajos says:

    I can tell who moved to Indiana in the mid 2000s. Former CHA residents.

  6. Andy says:

    The decline in migrants from Illinois coincides with the crash in home values. Are employed Illinoisians just stuck because they’re underwater?

    Everyone in MI & Ohio has already lost their job or their home, so there’s really not a whole lot keeping us there.

  7. Chris Barnett says:

    I would tend to agree with Jeff: some of that Illinois migration may have been downstate. Toyota in Princeton is just a few miles from the border; Indiana may have required the hiring of residents from certain counties as a condition of its incentives. (State government did so in the case of Honda in Greensburg.)

    It might be that many “new Indiana residents” otherwise are those in suburban greenfields outside Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chicago.

    But if I recall correctly, intra-state migration in Indiana has almost every county in the state “losing” to Indianapolis. Some “internal” Indiana migration might properly be characterized as migration from those other metros. This could account for the modest Indianapolis gains from other states.

  8. George Mattei says:

    I had the same thought as Andy. Folks may be having a harder time selling their homes, so they are staying put. The market is so depressed it’s hard to see a lot of folks moving.

    Additionally, I don’t see one area producing a lot of jobs, and attracting in-migrants for that reason. All of the region and nation is hurting, so not much incentive to move right now.

  9. Chris Barnett says:

    George, Indiana has a lower unemployment rate than all the surrounding states. Several major manufacturers are capital-equipment and export oriented, and others are auto related and have bounced back since the recession’s worst days. Indianapolis has successful life-sciences and e-marketing clusters. All that should be an attractor.

    But I agree with you: so many people are underwater on houses that they stay put. With 10-20% cumulative price declines in non-bubble Midwestern cities over the past few years, even conservative young homebuyers are well below break-even (considering transaction costs of 3-5% to buy and 5-10% to sell). No one wants to take a check to closing when selling.

  10. Brett says:

    Vlajos’ explanation for the mid-decade increase from Illinois is worth further exploration.

  11. Vlajos says:

    Brett, it coincides with the high point in the CHA’s Plan for Transformation, which is till in process btw.

  12. Chris Barnett says:

    Perhaps an enterprising Telestrian user could look at the absolute flows from Cook County to Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joe counties in Indiana during 2002-09 to see how well they track the state-to-state trend.

    Income levels of the migrants would also be important to know. If the “migrant average” is above either county’s median, it would suggest that the movement would represent move-up suburban relocation rather than CHA refugees.

    I’m a bit skeptical, mainly because Indiana is a lower-benefit state (unemployment, welfare, Medicaid, etc.).

  13. Vlajos says:

    I believe Urbanophile did this recently and was surprised to see that Indiana was eporting higher wage workers to Illinois than it is importing. This makes sense as most of the CHA residents that lost their units have left IL. Indiana is cheap, good place to move to with a housing voucher.

  14. I have a friend who is a police officer in Gary. He tells me that city saw a significant influx of ex-CHA residents after the demolitions.

  15. Vlajos says:

    I think this was all part of Daley’s plan.

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