According to data recently released by the US Census Bureau, Perry County, known for its more than 60,000 acres of Hoosier National Forest and the award-winning Pick Perry Campaign, was one of few rural counties in Indiana to experience population growth. With a population of around 19,316, Census data shows that from July 2020 to July 2021, the county grew in population by .9%, placing it among the top five fastest-growing counties outside the Indianapolis area.

This ranking was noted in a recent news release from Indiana University Kelley School of Business about the state’s decline in growth when compared to previous years. In 2021, Indiana experienced its smallest annual population increase since 2015. An analysis conducted by Matthew Kinghorn, senior demographer at the Indiana Business Research, notes that Indiana’s metropolitan areas continued to be the drivers of population growth while most rural counties in the state continued to experience an overall decline in population.

Fortunately, this is not the case for Perry County, where population has been on the rise since 2017, following several years of steady annual decline. In fact, the most recent estimates place the county only .1%, or 22 residents, shy of its 2010 population count of 19,338. A deeper dive into Census data reveals that growth in Perry County is being driven by domestic migration, or people from outside the county moving into the county. The Annual & Cumulative Estimates of the Components of Resident Population Change for Counties show that Perry County attracted 226 new residents from within the United States and gained three new residents via international migration.

Tell City, the county’s most populous community, also experienced growth in recent years. Between 2010 and 2020, the city’s population grew by 3.2%. A comparison of the 2010 and 2020 population pyramids reveals a dramatic and positive shift over the ten-year span, with children under five years of age being the largest age group seen in 2020. As a result, the city’s median age decreased by 5 years, for a median age of 38.1 in 2020 as opposed to 43.1 in 2010.