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June 18, 2013

Face of Indiana changes

New census report shows population is diversifying nationwide.

INDIANAPOLIS – Like the rest of the nation, Indiana is continuing on a trend toward greater diversity as the numbers of Hispanics, blacks, Asians and other minorities are rising at a faster pace than whites.

New census data released last week also show the trend may accelerate in the years to come as the most racially and ethnically diverse age-group – Hoosiers under 5 – grow up.

The new census numbers are snapshot estimates of the population in July 2012, and come a year after the U.S. Census Bureau reported the nation is undergoing a historic shift: Fueled by immigration and high rates of birth, particularly among Hispanic Americans, the nation’s racial and ethnic minorities are growing more rapidly in numbers than whites.

“This shows the changing face of Indiana and America,” said demographer Matt Kinghorn of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University.

Indiana, where 81 percent of the population is white, remains less diverse than the rest of the nation, which is now 63 percent white.

But a closer look at the racial and ethnic make-up of different age groups signals the shift: While 91 percent of Hoosiers over 65 are white, just 70 percent of Hoosier children under 5 are white. And in that 65 and over group of Hoosiers, less than 2 percent are Hispanic; of Hoosiers that are 5 and under, 11.4 percent are Hispanic.

The contrast between the oldest and the youngest Hoosiers also shows up in race: Just shy of 6 percent of Hoosiers 65 and older are black; just over 11 percent of Hoosiers are 5 are black.

The shift also shows up in the median ages of demographic groups: The median age for whites in Indiana is 40.2 years; it’s 31.3 for blacks, 30.6 for Asians, and 24.5 for Hispanics. For Hoosiers identified as bi-racial or multi-racial, the median age is 15.6 years.

“Indiana is becoming more diverse from the ground up,” Kinghorn said.

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