Elkhart County's population is growing faster than neighboring counties, but why?

NOW: Elkhart County’s population is growing faster than neighboring counties, but why?

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind.- With more and more jobs being announced on a daily basis for Elkhart County, it again begs the question, “Where are those workers, who will fill those positions?”

Elkhart County’s population is actually growing steadily and could catch up to St. Joe County.

The president of the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce says they don’t necessarily have billboards that invite people to Elkhart County; it’s mostly word of mouth from people that commute here for work.

Perhaps the big question here is whether or not Elkhart County has a potential of reaching St. Joe County’s population to attract even more people.

“I am not sure anytime soon,” says Jeff Rea, President and CEO of South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Certainly they’re growing at a faster rate than St. Joseph County. We have a head start in terms of number of people; it would take many decades if the current projections were accurate.”

Rea says they would be thrilled if Elkhart County continues to grow; that is ultimately beneficial for the entire region.

“Businesses don’t see geography or political boundaries. The people that we represent come from other counties,” says Rea.

President of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Kyle Hannon agrees that this is not a competition between two of the region’s largest counties.

“That’s more good news for both of us, that the whole area is growing a little bit and maybe if we surpass them in population some day we can talk about it, but the point is that the whole region has grown.”

Both counties have been working closely thanks to the regional cities initiatives to keep people in the counties they grew up in.

“We’re thinking if we did this story a year or 5 from now, we’d tell a different story because of those initiatives that we’ve been undertaking in the last 5 years,” says Rea.

Hannon says Elkhart County has a growing economy that prompted this growth in population, but there is still room for improvement.

“Slowly housing is starting to catch up with demand even though there’s a long way to go. We’re enjoying the population growth because it’s a great place to live,” says Hannon.

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