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When will they ever learn?

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When will they ever learn?

Indianapolis is preparing to celebrate its 200th birthday or anniversary. But Indianapolis isn’t that village invented by the General Assembly on the banks of the White River. Fifty years ago, Indianapolis took an important step forward establishing Unigov. It was an imperfect consolidation of governmental units which has remained virtually unchanged for half a century.

Today’s real Indianapolis is a composite of nine counties with a host of cities and towns, most of them remnants of pastoral villages, each battling to be “something.”

Today, the Mayor of Indianapolis speaks of regionalism. His is a genteel appeal to overturn inequities, either created or endorsed by the Indiana General Assembly, that home of irrational and irresponsible 18th century sentimentality.

 Eight counties serve as satellites of Marion County – Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Hancock, Shelby, Johnson, Morgan, and Hendricks. (Note: I do not call them parasites as would some central-city chauvinists.) 

Unlike celestial satellites, these counties have extensive and diverse interactions with their host planet other than gravity alone. Commuting to work in Marion County is only the most prominent of these interactions which include shopping, health care, entertainment, and other services.

Even as these satellite counties grow and develop, Marion County is overwhelmingly important with nearly half of the metro’s population in 2017, contributing almost a third of its population growth 2007 to 2017. 

Marion County accounted for 58 percent of all 2017 jobs in the metro area and 24 percent of the job growth 2007 to 2017. Of greater significance, Marion County had 67 percent of the earnings provided by those jobs in 2017 and 63 percent of the growth in earnings over the decade. 

What does that tell us? Simply, Marion’s jobs pay better than jobs in the satellite counties. With 58 percent of the jobs, Marion County contributed 67 percent of metro earnings. Plus, despite just a quarter of the growth in jobs, Marion County provided nearly two-thirds of the growth in earnings by metro workers and proprietors.

Perhaps more readily understood, the average job in Marion County paid $74,500 while the next highest average job was in Hamilton County at $59,800. The increase in average earnings from 2007 to 2017 in Marion County was 39 percent or $20,700; none of the other eight counties saw an increase greater than Hancock’s 28 percent or Hamilton’s $12,800.

The essence of regionalism is recognizing and respecting interdependency. This is not happening in the Indianapolis metro area. Satellite counties persist in their opposition to a regionwide transit system which could establish new connections among communities as well facilitating commutes and an efficient integration of other services. They will not work together for their common betterment.

Shortsighted, fool-hardy? Will citizens throughout Indiana vote for the future in the forthcoming municipal elections or continue to support narcissistic and environmentally destructive sprawl? When will they ever learn?

Population

Share

County

2007

2017

Change

Percent Change

Percent of Change

2007

2017

Metro Area

   1,773,052 

   1,975,877 

      202,825 

11.4%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

        

Boone

        53,778 

        65,875 

        12,097 

22.5%

6.0%

3.0%

3.3%

Hamilton

      253,725 

      323,747 

        70,022 

27.6%

34.5%

14.3%

16.4%

Hancock

        67,115 

        74,985 

          7,870 

11.7%

3.9%

3.8%

3.8%

Hendricks

      137,267 

      163,685 

        26,418 

19.2%

13.0%

7.7%

8.3%

Johnson

      133,933 

      153,897 

        19,964 

14.9%

9.8%

7.6%

7.8%

Madison

      131,203 

      129,498 

        (1,705)

-1.3%

-0.8%

7.4%

6.6%

Marion

      883,591 

      950,082 

        66,491 

7.5%

32.8%

49.8%

48.1%

Morgan

        68,354 

        69,713 

          1,359 

2.0%

0.7%

3.9%

3.5%

Shelby

        44,086 

        44,395 

 309 

0.7%

0.2%

2.5%

2.2%

        
 

Jobs

Share

County

2007

2017

Change

Percent Change

Percent of Change

2007

2017

Metro Area

   1,153,169 

   1,294,409 

      141,240 

12.2%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

        

Boone

        28,158 

        41,128 

        12,970 

46.1%

9.2%

2.4%

3.2%

Hamilton

      154,994 

      203,246 

        48,252 

31.1%

34.2%

13.4%

15.7%

Hancock

        29,858 

        33,695 

          3,837 

12.9%

2.7%

2.6%

2.6%

Hendricks

        63,475 

        91,466 

        27,991 

44.1%

19.8%

5.5%

7.1%

Johnson

        61,414 

        73,713 

        12,299 

20.0%

8.7%

5.3%

5.7%

Madison

        54,455 

        53,479 

           (976)

-1.8%

-0.7%

4.7%

4.1%

Marion

      714,552 

      748,535 

        33,983 

4.8%

24.1%

62.0%

57.8%

Morgan

        23,605 

        24,893 

          1,288 

5.5%

0.9%

2.0%

1.9%

Shelby

        22,658 

        24,254 

          1,596 

7.0%

1.1%

2.0%

1.9%

        
 

Earnings by place of work ($000)*

Share

County

2007

2017

Change

Percent Change

Percent of Change

2007

2017

Metro Area

 55,827,807 

 83,175,738 

 27,347,931 

49.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

        

Boone

   1,056,993 

   1,925,042 

      868,049 

82.1%

3.2%

1.9%

2.3%

Hamilton

   7,272,790 

 12,147,325 

   4,874,535 

67.0%

17.8%

13.0%

14.6%

Hancock

   1,113,322 

   1,604,724 

      491,402 

44.1%

1.8%

2.0%

1.9%

Hendricks

   2,283,434 

   4,031,391 

   1,747,957 

76.5%

6.4%

4.1%

4.8%

Johnson

   2,098,957 

   3,208,578 

   1,109,621 

52.9%

4.1%

3.8%

3.9%

Madison

   1,970,489 

   2,326,980 

      356,491 

18.1%

1.3%

3.5%

2.8%

Marion

 38,376,106 

 55,731,062 

 17,354,956 

45.2%

63.5%

68.7%

67.0%

Morgan

      783,105 

   1,026,389 

      243,284 

31.1%

0.9%

1.4%

1.2%

Shelby

      872,611 

   1,174,247 

      301,636 

34.6%

1.1%

1.6%

1.4%

 

* Not adjusted for inflation

    
        
 

Earnings per Job*

   

County

2007

2017

Change

Percent Change

   

Metro Area

        48,413 

        64,258 

        15,845 

32.7%

   
        

Boone

        37,538 

        46,806 

          9,268 

24.7%

   

Hamilton

        46,923 

        59,767 

        12,844 

27.4%

   

Hancock

        37,287 

        47,625 

        10,338 

27.7%

   

Hendricks

        35,974 

        44,075 

          8,102 

22.5%

   

Johnson

        34,177 

        43,528 

          9,351 

27.4%

   

Madison

        36,186 

        43,512 

          7,326 

20.2%

   

Marion

        53,707 

        74,454 

        20,747 

38.6%

   

Morgan

        33,175 

        41,232 

          8,057 

24.3%

   

Shelby

        38,512 

        48,415 

          9,902 

25.7%

   
 

* Not adjusted for inflation

    

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

   

Prepared by Morton J. Marcus

     
         

Guest Writer Local Economy

Can data and statisics help politicians make wiser decisions?