Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

December 30, 2013

BRIAN HOWEY: Ranking the Hoosier condition

Ranking Hoosier life reveals great upside.

As we pull away from 2013, what is the state of the Hoosier condition?

The statistical data from 2010 through this November tells the story of a state steeped in automobiles, agriculture and a changing landscape.

We ranked 16th in the U.S. in population at 6,537,334, or 2.08 percent of the nation. Indiana ranks 16th in total households, 17th in single parents, 17th in people living alone, 17th in total housing units and ninth in the nation in home ownership (at 72 percent).

Indiana ranks sixth in manufacturing; seventh in durable goods and nondurable goods; 16th in total gross domestic product; 13th in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; 10th in warehousing and storage, in a state that bills itself as the “Crossroads of America”; eighth in chemical manufacturing; and sixth in transportation equipment and furniture. We ranked 13th in 2011 in exports, sending out to the world $32.29 billion worth of goods.

Hoosiers rank 39th in per capita income, with residents making 87.2 percent of U.S. income of $38,119, and 33rd in household income at $46,974, down from $47,399 in 2011 (32nd). In 2002, we ranked 24th at $53,482. That is a 13.6 percent decline in the last decade, ranking us 48th.

The Indiana General Assembly passed and then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed “right-to-work” legislation in February 2011. Union membership declined from 11.3 percent of the workforce in 2011 (302,000 workers, or 15th in the nation) to 9.1 percent in 2012 (246,000 workers). Just 10 percent of the workforce is represented by a union, ranking us 15th, down 2.4 percent from 2011.

Indiana ranks 10th in bankruptcies over time in 2012, and sixth in the rate per 1,000 people. We rank third in methamphetamine lab busts (1,429 in 2012) behind Missouri (1,825) and Tennessee (1,585), while Kentucky ranked fourth with 919.

But we are industrious. Indiana ranks second in automotive employment at 102,000 workers. We produce 11 percent of autos in the United States and are home to 630 automotive companies. With Honda, Subaru and Toyota in the state, Indiana has the highest level of Japanese investment per capita in the United States.

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