Fun with Numbers

In a column right before the end of the year, Brian Howey shared statistics about Indiana. They’re revealing.

Hoosiers rank 39th in per capita income, with residents making 87.2 percent of U.S. income at $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). Only 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.

Apparently, the folks who opposed Right to Work were right when they characterized the measure as “Right to Work for Less.”

Howey’s long list also included these interesting numbers: Indiana ranks 17th in college enrollments–we are educating lots of students in our colleges and Universities. But we rank 42d in the percentage of Hoosiers holding Bachelor’s degrees, and 44th in the percentage of Hoosiers with any sort of degree.

We educate them and they leave.

Maybe our intrepid legislators should ask why it is that educated folks don’t stay in our state. Could it be that those low taxes translate into poor public services and a low quality of life?

Today is the start of a shiny new year. Wouldn’t it be nice if those we elect to office would decide to work together this year to improve Indiana’s dismal numbers, and the quality of life in the Hoosier State?


  1. We tried to tell them and showed all the Data of what would happen which has now and is happening. They talk about how they care for all Hoosiers but we know the reality and this article is more proof that they don’t

  2. Interesting numbers that you posted on your site.. They don’t include the number of people without insurance or our unemployment numbers. I’m sure our Governor and our Legislators cash their checks on a regular basis. And feel good about themselves.

  3. It is sad but people don’t realize that when Unions negotiate for better wages and benefits it impacts their on standard of living. Unions drive the increases for all workers. Once again Indiana shows why others see it as a stagnant state.

  4. I’m so glad you getting into this. For 30 + years, the surest ticket out of Indiana has been to get a college degree. For all the tax breaks, reduction of regulations, expediting permits, and anti-labor legislation enacted the last 20 years – all in the name of job creation – Indiana’s biggest job growth is projected to be in home health aides. Business hasn’t been required to create jobs in order to receive the tax breaks. Business lobbyists for decades have said schools, parents, and students need to raise expectations and standards. When will Indiana’s business community raise expectations of themselves to compete for and employ college talent?

    If you remove the college educated Hoosiers who are college professors and K-12 teachers from the data, Indiana’s comparative educational attainment REALLY suffers. Two years ago, Tony Bennett convinced the legislature to nearly eliminate any pay boost for those who return to college to improve their knowledge and skill.

    Minnesota has much worse weather, higher taxes, and at least as many regulations as Indiana, but government and businesses there invest to gain the dividends of more livable communities and higher educational attainment.

    If Indiana wants college talent, Indiana businesses will need to compete for it. But if Indiana wants to stay poor, it’s going about it the right way.

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