Spurred by increases in international migration and natural increase, the population in the five counties comprising the South Bend – Elkhart region grew by 1,213 people for a population growth rate of 0.2% between 2018 and 2019.
Populations can change in three ways; people may be born (births), they may die (deaths), or they may move (domestic and international migration).
“Talent Attraction and Retention is one of our five key focus areas, with a goal to transform the current net migration from being negative to being neutral or positive by 2025,” said Regina Emberton, president and CEO of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. "And the numbers are trending upward."
Population in the region has increased slightly, 1.30% between 2010 and 2019 and fewer people are choosing to leave the region compared to those who are choosing to move here. In 2017, 1.97 people per 1,000 left the region. In 2019, net migration was still negative, however it improved slightly to 1.66 people per 1,000 who left the region. The region’s population growth in recent years can be attributed primarily to natural increase (births over deaths) and positive international migration.
One successful strategy expected to increase net migration and population growth is the Regional Cities Initiative. To date, over $34 million of the Regional Cities Initiative grant has been disbursed to support a portfolio of 26 quality-of-life projects in the SBE region, including recreational and athletic facilities, cultural venues, and mixed-use urban developments.
“There is a pride in what has been and an eagerness for what will become," said Emberton. "The region is connected through inspiration from world class colleges and universities, takes serenity in rural landscapes, innovates within downtown cores, and bands together to reshape and re-shared opportunities for the future."
This summer, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership plans to launch a brand campaign and marketing strategy to promote these strengths and shared opportunities of the region, aimed at attracting residents, investment and tourism to the region.
About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (SBERP) is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: Educating a world-class WORKFORCE, Recruiting and retaining great TALENT, Attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing INDUSTRIES, Promoting INCLUSION and sparking opportunities for minorities and Helping ENTREPRENEURS thrive. The Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually.