Starke County ranked poorly in latest quality of life survey

A new report from Ball State University ranks Starke County in the bottom five for quality of life out of the 92 counties in Indiana. 

The report is based off the United Nations Human Development Index and calculates the rankings based on a county’s average life expectancy to measure health, its adult literacy rate to measure education and its local gross domestic product (GDP) to measure living standards. 

Starke County posts an overall score of just eight points out of 100, placing it as number 89 on the list of 92. 

Some longtime residents said they’re ashamed of the report while others say they can’t understand where it’s coming from. 

“I hope that [the report] doesn’t persuade people not to come settle here,” Starke County historian, pastor and radio personality Edward Hasnerl said. 

Hasnerl said he’s spent most of his 80 years in Starke County and has not seen any negative changes. 

“I’m just very pleased and proud to live here,” Hasnerl said. 

Other residents feel differently. 

“Everybody’s having a tough, tough time,” lifelong Starke County resident Gary Shepherd said. “People just ain’t got the money. They’re broke. Starke County is flat broke.”

LaGrange County, Scott County and Switzerland County are all tied for last place, scoring zero points, in the report. Indiana’s Hamilton County came out on top scoring a perfect 100 points. 

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