John P. Cleary, file photo | The Herald Bulletin2016 Pay Less Little 500 sprint car race at Anderson Speedway.
ANDERSON – In somewhat of a reversal in recent years, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates showed a slight increase in the population of Madison County for the past year.
The Census Bureau estimated the population for Madison County in 2017 was at 129,498, slightly higher than the 2016 estimate of 129,325.
The 2010 population for the county was set at 131,636.
No specific numbers were available for Anderson, which is now included in the Indianapolis and Carmel Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The Indianapolis MSA has an estimated population of 2,028,614 as compared to 1,887,877 in 2010.
“Most of the statistical data continued to trend downward for Madison County through 2020,” Rob Sparks, executive director of the Corporation for Economic Development, said Tuesday. “I didn’t agree.”
Sparks said the fact the population increased slightly is a positive for the community and that growth is coming up Interstate 69.
“It’s encouraging to me that there is some forward movement,” he said. “We are getting a lot of interest in terms of housing along the southern border of the county.”
Sparks said the population growth will start in the Lapel, Ingalls and Pendleton areas and investors are looking at potential development in that area.
He is hopeful that the 2020 census will show that the population of Anderson, which was 56,129 in 2010, will have stabilized.
“I think we will see the population start to rebound in 2020,” Sparks said.
A couple of local residents expressed surprise that the county’s population had increased in the past year.
"Maybe it has bottomed out," Lisa McKinley said of the slight increase. "It could be that everyone who was going to leave has left."
McKinley agreed with most other people that the growth in the population is taking place along the county’s southern border. She said there will be growth in Anderson along Interstate 69.
David Stephens, who moved to Anderson from North Carolina a year ago, didn’t have an idea of why the county’s population would have increased.
"I don’t think it’s people from Hamilton County because they have more economic activity than in Madison County," he said, "although the housing costs are lower in the county."
Stephens believes the growth in the local population from people moving in from Hamilton County is about five years away.
Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said he believes the upward population trend for the county and city will continue.
"We have new people coming into the city," he said. "We have a renewed interest in living in the downtown area. Developers wouldn’t be investing in downtown housing if they didn’t believe there was going to be a demand. We’re going to continue to grow."
Broderick said his long-term goal is to increase the population of Anderson.
"I believe it stabilized a few years ago," he said. "The increase is not a surprise to me. There are new people coming here for work and to find a place to live. People want that small-town feel but to still be close to a metropolitan area, which Anderson offers."
Madison County Commissioner John Richwine said he is hopeful that the upward tick in population means people are interested in staying or moving into the county.
“It could be jobs, the purchase of a good home or for family reasons,” he said. “There are opportunities in the county.”
Richwine agreed the population growth will take place in the southern end of the county, but added a potential housing development in Elwood is attracting some interest.
Elwood Mayor Todd Jones said there has been an increase in the community’s population as people look to move north from Hamilton County.
“There is a migration to the north,” he said. “Last year we created 600 new jobs and had investments of $151 million. That has affected our residential numbers.”
Jones said the city recently secured a $20 million housing development near the golf course property and $10 million in the downtown area for housing.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.
The 2017 population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau for Madison County and surrounding counties. The population numbers are for the last census in 2010 and the estimate for last year.
Madison County – 131,636; 129,498
Delaware County – 117,671; 115,184
Grant County – 70,063; 66,491
Hamilton County – 274,569; 323,747
Hancock County – 70,043; 74,985
Henry County – 49,462; 48,476
Indianapolis, Carmel, Anderson Metropolitan Statistical Area:
2010 – 1,887,877
2017 – 2,028,614