PCPI has been recognized by our political leadership as an important, if not vital, measure of economic well-being. However, population decline is hardly the route to a more vital community.
Lagrange County demonstrates healthy growth. In 2012, this northern county, which depends heavily on manufacturing jobs in Elkhart County, ranked second in both PCPI and PI growth, with slow POP growth. Jennings County ranked first among the state’s counties in both PCPI and PI growth, but saw its POP drop during the year.
Fast POP growth has a depressing effect on a PCPI increase. Johnson County, for example, had its 6.0 percent growth in PI become 4.7 percent growth in PCPI because of its 1.2 percent POP growth.
Ideally, a community wants to see its PCPI grow because its personal income is growing faster than its population. Indiana’s favorable PCPI growth must be evaluated recognizing that 60 percent of our counties are losing population and that growth of personal income, like the growth of population, is becoming more and more concentrated.
Morton J. Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He can be reached at email@example.com.