INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s generally attractive business climate remains a primary bright spot as outlined in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card. However, lagging numbers in educational achievement, health care, and new business formation leave much room for improvement.
Furthermore, a per capita income ranking of 41st only improves to a middle-of-the-pack 24th when the state’s favorable cost of living is factored in.
“As we evaluate economic health post-pandemic, thought leaders must not wait for the dust to settle before evaluating the state’s economic vitality,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.
“The sooner we identify our strengths and acknowledge our shortcomings, the sooner we can act. Our Report Card findings will serve as a basis for important discussions at a number of regional forums we are facilitating in the next two months.”
The Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card compares the 50 states on 70 metrics related to 37 goals grouped by four drivers: Outstanding Talent, Attractive Business Climate, Superior Infrastructure, and Dynamic and Creative Culture.
Overall, Indiana ranks in the top 10 in seven of the 70 metrics. It has 10 rankings of 40th or worse. Compared to 2019, the state improved in 22 rankings and declined in 26. In looking at just the state’s performance in 2021 compared to two years earlier, Indiana’s raw scores improved in 31 metrics and declined in 20.
One high point is the two-year increase from nearly 87% to 92.6% of Hoosiers with access to high-speed broadband and mobile connections. What makes this even more impressive is that the national average decreased by 0.5% due to the FCC raising its standard for what qualifies as “high speed.”
Health care shortcomings continue to be a detriment, marring an otherwise strong business climate in the areas of taxes, regulations and more. Indiana’s adult smoking rate of 19.2% (a decrease from 21.8% in the most recent biennial comparison) is still 40th worst among the 50 states.
Brinegar stresses, “The single biggest step to improve Indiana’s overall health ranking would be for the General Assembly to finally increase the cigarette tax, leading to a decrease in smokers.”
Postsecondary results continue to lag with Indiana rankings of 37th and 40th in the areas of associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees. On a positive note, the number of graduating high school seniors needing remediation in both mathematics and language arts dropped to only 1% (compared to 11% in 2011).
In the Dynamic and Creative Culture driver, a low point of this 2021 Report Card is the drop from fifth to 23rd in net job creation in firms that are at least six years old. This marks the first year since 2009 that Indiana ranked outside the top 20. Bottom 10 results remain in the rate of new entrepreneurs as well as employment at young firms.
In better news, venture capital investments grew by 55.6% for the three-year period beginning in 2018.
“Chamber-led enhancements to the venture capital investment tax credit were achieved during the 2021 legislative session. Specifically, the cap was increased as was the amount of the credit that can be taken,” Brinegar offers. “We believe that will have a positive effect and we remain determined to help Indiana generate momentum in this important innovation driver.”
This is the fifth Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card in the past decade; full results are available at www.indianachamber.com/2025.
The Report Card and regional forums are sponsored by lead investors NIPSCO, Duke Energy, the Garatoni-Smith Family Foundation, CenterPoint Energy, Indiana Michigan Power, OneAmerica, Beck’s Hybrids and Thompson Thrift.
About Indiana Vision 2025
Mission: “Indiana will be a global leader in innovation and economic opportunity where enterprises and citizens prosper.” Indiana Vision 2025 was developed by a statewide task force of community, business and education leaders. The plan was released in early 2012.
Statewide Discussions and Analysis
The 2021 Report Card will be the focus of virtual regional forums to discuss the results, obtain local analysis and share best practices. The current forum schedule: May 25 (Northwest Indiana), May 27 (Southwest Indiana), June 8 (North Central Indiana), June 21 (Northeast Indiana), June 22 (Terre Haute), June 24 (Southeast Indiana) and June 30 (statewide). All events are virtual with the exception of the Southeast Indiana one, which is a hybrid format. For more information on these discussions, contact Adam H. Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org.