INDIANAPOLIS — The moving van pulls away leaving new people and their strange possessions next door. There is something different about them and the things they own. Something strange that suggests they are not quite like us, long-time residents of this place.
Where do those strangers come from? We’re fortunate the U.S. Bureau of the Census has studied that question concerning persons who were one year of age and older in 2018. They found 84.9% of Hoosiers were folks who lived in the same house as they did in 2017. But that’s below the national average of 86%, and we rank 32nd among the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia). Hoosiers are less homebodies than other residents of this nation? Where did those strangers come from?

Take heart! Indiana ranks 10th in the nation (12.4%) in terms of persons who moved within the same state in the last year. Those strangers may be from just around the corner, or as far away at Angola, Aurora, Mt. Vernon or Whiting. Thus, they’re not really strangers. Take them a welcoming casserole. Make sure you exchange cell phone numbers and don’t hesitate to give them your email address.

So, with 84.9% of us living in the same house as a year ago, and 12.4% moving from somewhere else in Indiana, we have only 2.7% of our neighbors coming from some other state or nation. We’re securely in 38th place in the U.S. in having “foreigners” in our midst, whether they come from Illinois or Indonesia.

Yes, we’re not burdened with having to understand accents or customs from far off Kentucky or Kazakhstan. In Alaska, North Dakota, Idaho and Wyoming, 5% or more of the residents come from out of state or foreign lands.  No, at 2.7% of folks who were resident in a different state one year earlier, we’re just behind Mississippi and Alabama, and tied with Texas and Iowa.

It’s noteworthy that Texas, with its “porous” border, under attack from Central American hordes, is no different from Indiana in regard to its stay-put population. Further, where Indiana ranked 32nd in the portion of the population living in the same house as a year earlier, New York, New Jersey and Delaware topped the list with 89% in that category. New York State, where the city maintains some degree of rent control, is understandable.

Also, we can understand Washington, Colorado and Oregon leading the list of states with the lowest percent of persons living in the same house. Those states have Seattle, Denver and Portland, each a strong magnet for populations, old and young, seeking dynamic environments. Next week in this space, we’ll look in detail at where Hoosiers have been moving and from which states we have attracted movers. 

Mr. Marcus is an economist. Reach him at Follow his views and those of John Guy on “Who gets what?”