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Census 2020: Cities Grow, Rural Areas Shrink And Michiana’s More Diverse

U.S. Census Bureau


According to 2020 census data released Thursday, Michiana’s cities grew, rural communities shrank and the region became more diverse since 2010.


South Bend, the area’s largest city, had its largest population increase in 50 years. The city added 2,285 residents since 2010 and now has a population of 103,453.

That’s a 2.26 percent increase — the largest since the 1960 census — and the first time in a century that South Bend’s population grew at a faster rate than St. Joseph County, which grew by 2.24 percent.


“This historic population increase makes clear that South Bend has turned the corner and is a growing city once again,” Mayor James Mueller said in a statement. “We are proud that people are choosing South Bend as their home, and we must continue to make our city a great place to live.”


Mishawaka grew by 5.8 percent from 48,252 to 51,063. Elkhart also grew by 5.8 percent from 50,949 to 53,923. Goshen grew by 8.82 percent from 31,719 to 34,517, and Niles grew by 3.34 percent from 11,600 to 11,988.


On the other hand, rural areas and smaller cities and towns saw population declines. Granger shrank by 128 residents — a0.4 percent drop — and Benton Harbor lost almost 10 percent of its residents.


Four WVPE listener counties increased in population — St. Joseph grew 2.24 percent, Elkhart grew 4.4 percent, Kosciusko grew 3.7 percent and LaGrange grew by 8.2 percent.


LaPorte and Starke County remained essentially flat, with population increases of less than one percent. All other WVPE listener counties decreased.


Berrien County shrank 1.59 percent, Cass shrank 2.8 percent, Marshall shrank 2 percent, Pulaski shrank 6.6 percent and Fulton shrank 1.7 percent.


In terms of demographic diversity, Michiana’s biggest change is in the number of Hispanic and Latino residents. Almost all WVPE listener counties had a 30 to 40 percent increase from 2010.


St. Joseph County and Elkhart County led the pack at 37 percent and 42 percent, respectively. Overall, Indiana had a 42.2 percent increase of residents identifying as Hispanic or Latino since 2010.


St. Joseph County also had a 40 percent increase in residents identifying as Asian, and a 12.8 percent increase in residents identifying as Black or African American.


Except for Elkhart, LaGrange and Kosciusko counties, all WVPE listener counties saw a decrease in the number of residents identifying as White when compared to 2010.


Contact Jakob at or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.


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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.