County among population growth leaders

Jackson County’s population has grown more quickly than all but two counties in the south-central part of the state since 2010.

The latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates, released March 26, show the number of people calling the county home grew from 42,585 on July 1, 2010, to 43,705 on July 1, 2014.

That’s an increase of 1,120 people, or 2.6 percent. The only surrounding counties with faster growth were Bartholomew at 4.38 percent and Monroe at 3.48 percent. The remaining five counties in the region all lost population during the period.

Scott County experienced both the biggest percentage loss and the largest numerical loss. That county’s population fell from 24,193 in July 2010 to 23,712, a loss of 481 people.

Jackson County’s growth rate also outpaced the state rate of growth of 1.3 percent for the same period. The latest estimates show the state’s population grew by 112,663 people to 6,596,855 during the same period.

Slightly more than half of Jackson County’s population growth can be attributed to natural increase, when the number of births reported in a year exceeds the number of deaths. In the county’s case, there were 577 more births than deaths during the period.

The county also picked up 213 people who moved from another country and another 661 who moved here from another U.S. state or territory.

Some changes in population cannot be attributed to any specific demographic component, leading to a difference in statistics, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman said the increase proves some of the things that are being done to attract people here are working. He said work to make the downtown more attractive needs to continue, and more amenities are still needed here.

He said the ultimate goal is to make it where people want to move to the area.

The increase in population also helps the city when it comes time to apply for grant monies, Luedeman said.

The latest estimate for Seymour shows the city gained 825 residents from 18,041 on April 1, 2010, to 18,866 on July 1, 2013. That’s a 4.6 percent growth rate.

John Burkhart, director of the Jackson County Visitor Center, said people planning to move to the area often visit the center to ask questions about housing availability and community amenities.

“I’m here on Saturdays, and that’s when they usually stop by,” he said.

Burkhart, a former mayor, said that underlines that most of the growth in population is driven by the availability of jobs in the area.

Thirty-seven counties gained population between 2011 and 2014, while one, LaPorte, experienced no growth. The remaining counties lost population.

Lake County lost 5,827; Madison County lost 1,596 people; and Grant County dropped 1,433 people.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.