The Hoosier State

Where is it?

State Flag




Geographic coordinates:
37°47'N to 41°46'N
84°49'W to 88°4'W
total: 36,418 sq mi
land: 35,870 sq. mi
water: 550 sq.mi
coastline: N/A
shoreline: Great Lakes along northeastern part of state 235 sq.mi
Bordering States:
Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: 322 ft
highest point: Hoosier Hill 1,257 ft
The 475 mile (764 km) long Wabash River bisects the state from northeast to southwest and has given Indiana two theme songs, the state song On the Banks of the Wabash as well as The Wabash Cannonball. The White River (a tributary of the Wabash, which is a tributary of the Ohio) zigzags through central Indiana. Indianapolis and Muncie are large cities on this river. Evansville, the third largest city in Indiana, is located on the Ohio River, which forms all of the Indiana-Kentucky border.

Most of northern and central Indiana is flat farmland dotted with small cities and towns, such as North Manchester.

Northwest Indiana

The northwest corner of the state is part of the greater metropolitan area of Chicago and is therefore more densely populated with almost one million residents. Gary, and the cities and towns that make up the northern half of Lake, Porter, and La Porte Counties bordering on Lake Michigan, are effectively commuter suburbs of Chicago. They are all in the Central Time Zone along with Chicago & are served by the South Shore Electric commuter rail line.

South Bend, Mishawaka, Elkhart and Goshen, in north central Indiana, make up the region known as Michiana. These cities, though categorized by the U.S. Census Bureau in two metropolitan areas, have become a single metropolitan area over the past 10 years, spanning both St. Joseph and Elkhart counties.

The Kankakee River, which winds through northern Indiana, serves somewhat as a demarcating line between rural and suburban northwest Indiana.

The state capital, Indianapolis, is situated in the central portion of the state. It is intersected by numerous Interstate and U.S. highways, giving the state its motto as "The Crossroads of America". Other cities located within the area include Anderson, Bloomington, Columbus, Lafayette, Muncie, and Terre Hautte.

Rural areas in the central portion of the state are typically composed of a patchwork of fields and forested areas.

Southern Indiana is a mixture of farmland and forest. The Hoosier National Forest is a 200,000 acre (80,900 ha) nature preserve in south central Indiana. Southern Indiana's topography is more varied and generally contains more hills and geographic variation than the northern portion, such as the "Knobs," a series of 1,000 ft. hills that run parallel to the Ohio River in south-central Indiana. The limestone geology of Southern Indiana has created numerous caves and one of the largest limestone quarry regions in the USA.




6,596,855 (2014)
Largest City:
Indianapolis: 820,445 (2010)
Age structure:
0-5 years old: 7.0%
<18 years old: 25.5%
65 years and over: 12.0%
Male: 49.1% Female: 50.9%
Population growth rate:
3.1% (2000-2005)
Population density:
169.5 per sq mi
Race(2000 Census):
White non-Hispanic: 84.6%
Hispanic: 4.3%
Black: 8.8%
Asian: 1.2%
Native American: 0.8%
Multi-Race: 1.1%
Christian: 82%
Other: 1%
Non-Religious: 17%




The area of Indiana has been settled since before the development of the Hopewell culture (ca. 100–400 CE). It was part of the Mississippian culture from roughly the year 1000 up to 1400.). The specific Native American tribes that inhabited this territory at that time were primarily the Miami and the Shawnee. The area was claimed for New France in the 17th century, handed over to the Kingdom of Great Britain as part of the settlement at the end of the French and Indian War, given to the United States after the American Revolution, soon after which it became part of the Northwest Territory, then the Indiana Territory, and joined the Union in 1816 as the 19th state. See Northwest Indian War.

On June 29, 1816, Indiana adopted a constitution, and on December 11, 1816, became the 19th State to join the Union. No slavery was allowed, making the state an attractive destination for people like Abraham Lincoln's family, which was disgusted with slavery in Kentucky.

Indiana filled up from the Ohio River north. Emigration, mostly from Kentucky and Ohio, was so rapid that by 1820 the population was 147,176, and by 1830 the sales of public lands for the previous decade reached 3,588,000 acres (5,600 sq mi; 14,500 km²) and the population was 343,031. It had more than doubled since 1820. The first state capital was in southern Indiana in Corydon.

Manufacturing also developed rapidly. In the ten years between 1840 and 1850 the counties bordering the canal increased in population 397 per cent; those more fertile, but more remote, 190 per cent. The tide of trade, which had been heretofore to New Orleans, was reversed and went east. The canal also facilitated and brought emigration from Ohio, New York, and New England, in the newly established counties in the northern two-thirds area of the State. The foreign immigration was mostly from Ireland and Germany. Later, this great canal fell into disuse, and finally was abandoned, as railway mileage increased.

In the next ten years, by 1840, of the public domain 9,122,688 acres (14,250 mi2; 36,918 km²) had been sold. But the State was still heavily in debt, although growing rapidly. In 1851 a new constitution (now in force) was adopted. The first constitution was adopted at a convention assembled at Corydon, which had been the seat of government since December, 1813. The original state house built of blue limestone, still stands; but in 1821 the site of the present capital (Indianapolis) was selected by the legislature; it was in the wilds sixty miles from civilization. By 1910 it was a city of 225,000 inhabitants and the largest inland steam and electric railroad center not on navigable a waterway in the United States. Yet no railroad reached it before 1847.




December 11, 1816 (19th State)
State Tree:
Tulip tree
State Bird:
State Flower:
Indiana's government has three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The governor, elected for a four-year term, heads the executive branch. The General Assembly, the legislative branch, consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Indiana's fifty State Senators are elected for four-year terms and one hundred State Representatives for two-year terms. In odd-numbered years, the General Assembly meets in a sixty-one day session. In even-numbered years, the Assembly meets for thirty session days. The judicial branch consists of the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, the Indiana Tax Court, and local circuit courts. On the national level, Indiana is represented in Congress by two Senators and nine Representatives.

The current governor of Indiana is Mitch Daniels, whose campaign slogan was "My Man Mitch," an appellation given by President George W. Bush for whom Mitch Daniels was the director of the Office of Management and Budget. He was elected to office on November 2, 2004.

The state's U.S. senators are senior Sen. Richard G. Lugar (Republican) and junior Sen. B. Evans "Evan" Bayh III (Democrat).




The total gross state product in 2005 was US$214 billion in 2000 chained dollars. Indiana's per capita income, as of 2005, was US$31,150.

Indiana is located within the Corn Belt, and the state's agricultural methods and principal farm outputs reflect this: a feedlot-style system raising corn to fatten hogs and cattle. Soybeans are also a major cash crop. The state's nearness to large urban centers, such as Chicago, also assures that much dairying, egg production, and specialty horticulture occur. Specialty crops include melons (southern Wabash Valley), tomatoes (concentrated in central Indiana), grapes, and mint (Source: USDA crop profiles). In addition, Indiana is a significant producer of tobacco. Most of the original land was not prairie and had to be cleared of deciduous trees. Many isolated parcels of woodland remain, and much of the southern, hilly portion is heavily forested (a condition which supports a local furniture-making sector in that part of the state).

A high percentage of Indiana's income is from manufacturing. The Calumet region of northwest Indiana is the largest steel producing area in the U.S., and this activity also requires that very large amounts of electric power be generated. Indiana's other manufactures include automobiles, electrical equipment, transportation equipment, chemical products, rubber, petroleum and coal products, and factory machinery. In addition, Indiana has the international headquarters of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly as well as the headquarters of Mead Johnson Nutritionals, a division of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Elkhart, in the north, has also had a strong economic base of pharmaceuticals, though this has changed over the past decade with the closure of Whitehall Laboratories in the 1990s and the planned drawdown of the large Bayer complex, announced in late 2005.

Indianapolis from the Central CanalDespite its reliance on manufacturing, Indiana has been much less affected by declines in traditional Rust Belt manufactures than many of its neighbors. The explanation appears to be certain factors in the labor market. First, much of the heavy manufacturing, such as industrial machinery and steel, requires highly skilled labor, and firms are often willing to locate where hard-to-train skills already exist. Second, Indiana's labor force is located primarily in medium-sized and smaller cities rather than in very large and expensive metropolises. This makes it possible for firms to offer, and labor accept, somewhat lower wages for these skills than would normally be paid. In other words, firms often see in Indiana a chance to obtain higher than average skills at lower than average wages for those skills, which often makes location in the state desirable.(Source for basic manufacturing facts in the above two paragraphs is generally McCoy and McNamara, "Manufacturers in Indiana," Purdue University Center for Rural Development, Research Paper 19, July 1998.)