Hamilton County Booms in Population and Employment Growth

The U.S. Bureau of the Census recently released its county population estimates for 1999. Indiana's Hamilton County has been among the fastest-growing counties in the nation since the 1990 census. Within Indiana, Hamilton County has added population faster, with 58% growth over the 10-year period, than any other county in the state. It is now the sixth largest county in Indiana, up from the 12th largest in 1990 (based on Population ranks from STATS Indiana).

Has there been a corresponding growth in the county's employment between 1990 and 1999? Yes. According to covered employment and wage data for second quarter 1990 through second quarter 1999, Hamilton County employment grew rapidly during this period. Covered employment grew from 41,000 in second quarter 1990 to 75,000 in second quarter 1999, a net employment growth of almost 34,000.

Figure 1

Total employment in Indiana during the same period changed from approximately 2.5 million workers to approximately 2.9 million. Hamilton County ranks eighth in total employment in second quarter 1999, up from 15th in second quarter 1990. Hamilton County's employment growth rate of 81.6% between 1990 and 1999 was second only to Ohio County's 313.1%, due to the effect of the opening of the Grand Victoria Casino on the small employment numbers in Ohio County.

While Hamilton County's employment grew by 81.6% between 1990 and 1999, its population grew by 58% during the same period. The county's population growth rate was eight times the state average, while the county's employment growth rate was four times the state's growth rate.

Figure 2

Hamilton County's share of the state's population growth between 1990 and 1999 was 15.8%, while its share of the state's employment growth was 7.3%. The county's population increased from 2.0% of the state's total population in 1990 to 2.9% in 1999. During the same period, its share of Indiana's employed workforce rose from 1.7% to 2.6%.

Figure 3

The services and retail trade sectors employed the most workers in Hamilton County in both 1990 and 1999. In 1990, three sectors—construction, wholesale trade and finance/insurance/real estate—each accounted for 9% to 10% of the county's employment. By 1999, employment in the finance/insurance/ real estate sector had grown to 15.5% of the county's total employment.

Growth in the number of workers employed was largest in the same three sectors—services, finance/ insurance/real estate and retail trade. Together, these three sectors accounted for more than three-fourths of the county's net employment growth. A 29% decline in employment occurred in the transportation/communications/public utilities sector.

Figure 4

The greatest percentage change in employment was in the finance/ insurance/real estate sector, which increased by 204% between 1990 and 1999. Other sectors with high employment-growth rates include durable goods manufacturing (113%), services (104%) and retail trade (95%).


To understand how Hamilton County's employment distribution and growth compare to the surrounding counties, review the IN Business section of the March 2000 issue of IN Context