Fort Wayne growth rate paces Great Lakes region

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Fort Wayne metro area was the fastest-growing community in the Great Lakes region in 2020, according to statistics released Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Census Bureau. The growth rate edged that of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) like Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Madison, Wis., and Columbus, Ohio.

The Fort Wayne MSA includes Allen, Wells, and Whitley counties.

Meanwhile, Allen County posted another strong year of attracting and retaining talent, gaining a net of 897 new residents via domestic migration. Net domestic migration measures how many people moved into a community from other U.S. locales, minus how many moved away to other U.S. communities. It was the fourth consecutive year the county posted a positive domestic migration number.

“We compete every day against other communities to attract and retain talent. These numbers mean Allen County is winning,” said John Urbahns, president and CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “When we’re able to offer residents amenities like The Landing and Promenade Park while maintaining a cost of living that’s among the lowest in America for communities our size, it’s easy to see why people are choosing to move here and stay here.”

Today’s data shows another step in a significant turnaround:

YearNet Domestic Migration Growth/Loss

In addition to releasing the new 2020 numbers, the Census Bureau adjusted previous years’ totals; there were noticeable adjustments for 2018 (+685 was adjusted to +772) and 2019 (+1,492 was adjusted to +1,514).

“This continuing trend shows Allen County remains a place people find desirable when choosing a place to live and raise a family,” Allen County Commissioners Rich Beck, Therese Brown, and Nelson Peters said in a joint statement. “We have gained a reputation as being business-friendly, with the county experiencing a fourth straight year of over $1 billion dollars in building permits. But more and more we are considered as an attractive place for people to move into and live. The momentum is still very strong and as a community we must strive to maintain that momentum.”

“Fort Wayne and Allen County continue to experience positive momentum, new business investments, and population growth. We’re working together to enhance economic development and job opportunities and provide excellent quality-of-life amenities for individuals, families, and businesses,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “High-trust partnerships are having a meaningful impact and our community is positioned for future success.”

“When we talk to business leaders about bringing jobs to our community, they want proof that they’ll be able to attract and retain a talented workforce. We’ve clearly established that Allen County checks that box,” said Ellen Cutter, VP of economic development at GFW Inc.

Indiana was the only state in the Midwest with a domestic migration gain (+1,323).

Overall, Allen County’s population grew by 3,181 residents (0.84%) in 2020. That number includes net domestic migration as well as natural population change (births minus deaths) and net international migration. The 0.84% growth rate doubled the state and national rates of 0.4%.

About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its metro chamber alliance and primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement. In 2020, GFW Inc. assisted 20 businesses in expansions or relocations in Allen County, resulting in more than 1,850 projected new jobs, more than $69 million in new annual payroll, and more than $169 million in new investment.