Demographics Drive the Success of the Cincinnati-Indianapolis and Louisville Corridor

How a site compares to other sites from a demographic standpoint can be a critical factor in a corporate site location decision. Demographics measure the impact of the population on any given issue.  For over two hundred years, the impact of population growth on economic development has been a hot topic.  In 1798, Thomas Malthus, a British essayist, presented a gloomy picture of the role of population growth and economic development. Malthus’ flawed view that population growth would lead to widespread famine was simply wrong.  Today, states and regions are searching for ways to grow populations to meet growing workforce demands.

Reviewing demographic data is a strong starting point for measuring economics.  Regions with an increasing population base and a group of younger workers illustrate growing communities.  Homeownership rates and home value illustrate stability in a community but also whether it is affordable to buy a home in a community.  The percentage of citizens over 25 with a college degree illustrates the likelihood the region can attract high-wage financial services, insurance, health care, high-tech, professional service, and other advanced services white-collar jobs.  Finally, measures of income and poverty rates illustrate the overall economic strength of the community.  Utilizing a demographic benchmark comparison, the Midwestern state illustrates weak population growth and has a slightly higher than average senior population illustrating the challenge the state has in retaining a younger generation of workers compared to the national average and regional competitors.

Understanding how the Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Louisville Corridor is impacted by population growth illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of this region.  As illustrated by the table below, Cincinnati and Indianapolis are growing regions while the Louisville region is struggling from a growth standpoint.  Cincinnati is trending in the right direction when analyzing the current status of its economic standing. The Cincinnati area, along with the Central Ohio region, are the only two regions within Ohio that have seen significant population growth and are projected to continue to grow. From 2010 to 2021 the Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area population grew by 6.02%. This is significantly higher than regions like the Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metro Area which saw population loss over the same time period. Although, it is below the extreme growth that other Midwest regions like Indianapolis have experienced. Cincinnati has high education levels among its residents due to local universities like Cincinnati University and Xavier University. Overall, the Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area provides higher education levels, median household income, and population growth compared to the state of Ohio averages, and a majority of the surrounding areas.

Regional Comparison
Area of StudyCincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro AreaIndianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Metro AreaLouisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metro Area
Population (2021)2,261,6652,129,4791,284,826
Population Change (2010-2021)6.02%21.05%-0.19%
Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate61.3%62.3%59.2%
High school Graduate or Higher91.9%91.8%91.3%
Bachelor’s Degree or Higher36.5%37.8%32.8%
Median Household Income$70,818$70,224$64,029
Percent Below Poverty Level12.1%10.6%12.1%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

As the demographic data above illustrates, the Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Louisville Corridor operates with similar civilian labor participation rates, high school graduation rates, college graduation rates, median household income, and poverty rates all within the national averages.  The demographic measures of these regions illustrate economic strength.