Although new Census data indicates a small population growth spurt for Indiana’s Elkhart County in the past year, community leaders continue to be concerned with attracting and retaining talent.
As reported by the Goshen News, with roughly 9,500 open jobs throughout the county, the task is proving to be a game of catch-up.
“The only significant growth is the birth rate outpacing death rate,” said Diana Lawson, CEO of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I think it’s a very telling story of the state of Indiana as well as Elkhart County. Why is it that statewide we can’t attract the new population we need to attract … to continue our growth?”
The estimated county population for 2017 was 205,032, an increase of 886 from the year prior, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. The population shift is not limited to economic migration.
Elkhart County’s Vibrant Communities initiative along with upcoming projects, including Elkhart’s River District and Goshen’s plans for a multi-use pavilion and renovations to the Goshen Theater, are prioritizing so-called quality-of-life projects.
Beyond cities developing new amenities and attractions, the county, Lawson said, needs to continue addressing how to provide a variety of housing choices, a vital area of consideration for prospective residents when deciding where to locate themselves. Both Elkhart and Goshen, as well as satellite communities, such as South Bend and Ligonier, are currently experiencing the development of new apartment complexes.
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