The Wabash Valley could lose federal funding due to population loss

WABASH VALLEY (WTHI) – Data from the 2020 Census shows The Wabash Valley’s population is shrinking.

Local economists say this means we could lose state funding.

The census numbers determine how much federal funding each state gets.

News 10 sat down with Indiana State Economics professor Robert Guell.

He tells us why these numbers aren’t seeing significant growth and what it could mean.

Every county in The Wabash Valley has seen a decrease in population.

That decrease has been since 2010 when the last U.S. Census was taken.

“The declining populations have a dramatic impact on state and local government budgets,” said Guell.

Illinois has also lost its population in the last decade.

Indiana has seen a slightly different trend.

The U.S. Census Bureau says Indiana has had a population increase between 0-4.9%.

That is slower than the overall national rate.

Guell says states with less grown, get less funding.

“Our wedge of the pie in Indiana will shrink a little, but Illinois’s wedge of the pie would shrink dramatically,” said Guell.

Guell says this could amount to hundreds of thousands, or potentially millions of dollars.

Along with people moving out of these areas, Guell says people are holding off on having kids.

“If you look at birth rates overall in the united states have dropped dramatically,” said Guell.

But all this in mind, Guell says it could still be a few years before we know just how much funding we will receive, or how much we could lose.

“I think it’ll be well into 22 or 23 before people like the mayor or county commissioners will say, ‘we lost this many hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of a shrinking population,'” said Guell.

It could be a few years before we see changes in the government’s budget.

Guell says schools, police and fire departments could be just some of the agencies impacted.