Northern Indiana

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Northern Indiana
Northern Indiana counties are highlighted in red.
Northern Indiana counties are highlighted in red.
Country  United States of America
State  Indiana
Largest city Fort Wayne
Population (2010) 2.2 million

Northern Indiana is a region of the U.S. State of Indiana, including 26 counties which border the states of Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. Northern Indiana is also considered part of the Great Lakes Megalopolis. The area is generally classified into other sub-regions; Northwest Indiana (or the Calumet Region) is closely tied with Chicago economically, culturally, and politically and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The north central region (or Michiana) centers on South Bend metropolitan area, with economic connections to southwest Michigan. Northeast Indiana is centered on the Fort Wayne metropolitan area.

The Northern Indiana landscape is physically characterized by very flat to very rolling terrain, ranging from 600 to 1,000 feet (180 to 300 m) above sea level. Glacial kettle lakes are found throughout Northeast Indiana, with sand dunes sharing the Lake Michigan shoreline with heavy industry in the northwest. Kosciusko County is home to the largest natural lake (Wawasee) and deepest natural lake (Tippecanoe) in the state of Indiana. The Eastern Continental Divide runs through the region following the top of the Valparaiso Moraine. Besides a few urban areas, much of Northern Indiana lies in the agricultural Corn Belt.

Northern Indiana is known for having the third-highest Amish population in the U.S., especially in Allen, Adams, Elkhart, and LaGrange counties.[1]



The following counties are the Northwest Indiana counties that are part of the Chicago metropolitan area. Much of this area in Indiana is known as the Calumet Region.


The following counties are considered part of Michiana:

Northeast Indiana

The following counties are considered Northeast Indiana:

Other counties

Largest municipalities

Fort Wayne is the largest city in Northern Indiana and second-largest in the state.
South Bend is the second-largest city in Northern Indiana and fourth-largest in the state.

The major cities of Northern Indiana are Fort Wayne (in the northeast), South Bend (in the north central region), and Hammond and Gary located in the extreme northwest along Lake Michigan.

Cities and towns with 10,000+ population (2010 U.S. census)


The Inland North dialect of American English is mostly found in the Calumet region of Northern Indiana, due to this area's close cultural ties to Chicagoland where it is prevalent. The Northern cities vowel shift is recognizable in Northwest Indiana and the Michiana area. However, the rest of Northern Indiana tends to exhibit North Midland dialect, with little recognizable influences.[2] Because of the city's transitional location between the Inland North, North Midland, and Central Midland dialects, Fort Wayne has been difficult for linguists to define, with some labeling speech here "virtually accent neutral," attributed to historical settlement patterns.[3]

Time zones

The Calumet region observes Central Time, including Jasper, Lake, La Porte, Newton, Porter, and Starke counties. The rest of Northern Indiana observes Eastern Time.


Corn fields in Marshall County—a common scene in rural Northern Indiana.
Wind farms dot the landscape in Benton County.

Northern Indiana bases much of its economy around manufacturing, distribution and transportation, and medical devices. Outside the metropolitan areas, the region's agricultural sector is abundant, given its location within the Corn Belt. Despite the region's storied history in industry, Northern Indiana is also at the heart of the Rust Belt, an area of the U.S. that has suffered deindustrialization and some economic stagnation since the late-20th century.

The Calumet region of Northwest Indiana is home to much heavy industry, notably steel mills. The Calumet region is the nation's second-largest steel producing area.[4] U.S. Steel's Gary Works (in Gary) was once the largest steel mill in the world and employed 30,000.[5] Gary Works remains the largest integrated steel mill in North America.[6] Operated by BP, the Whiting Refinery (in Whiting) is the fifth-largest oil refinery in the nation, processing 405,000 barrels (64,400 m3) of crude oil daily.[7] Northwest Indiana is also a vital trade and shipping center for the state. The Port of Indiana–Burns Harbor handles more ocean-going cargo than any other Great Lakes port in the U.S.[8] Gambling is another important component to the Calumet region's economy, with five riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan (Ameristar, Blue Chip, Horseshoe, Majestic Star, and Majestic Star II).

The north central area of Northern Indiana, centered on Warsaw, is home to several companies specializing in the development and production of orthopaedic medical devices. Nearly one-third of the $38 billion global orthopaedic industry is concentrated in north central Indiana.[9] Elkhart and surrounding municipalities in the Michiana region are home to the largest concentration of recreational vehicle and mobile home manufacturers in the U.S., including Forest River, Gulfstream Coach, Heartland Recreational Vehicles, Jayco, and Monaco Coach, among several others. Some 83 percent of American RVs are produced in Elkhart County.[10]

Benton County is home to several wind farms, including the Benton County Wind Farm, Hoosier Wind Farm, Meadow Lake Wind Farm, and Fowler Ridge Wind Farm, the largest of its kind in the American Midwest[11] and twelfth largest in the world.

Companies headquartered in Northern Indiana:

Nature areas

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore receives over 2 million visitors annually.

Colleges and universities

The University of Notre Dame is located in the Michiana sub-region of Northern Indiana.


Mass transit

A South Shore commuter train in Michigan City.


Notable people

Michael Jackson, arguably the most recognized Northern Indiana native.

See also


  1. "The Twelve Largest Amish Settlements". Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. 2008. Retrieved 2013-10-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "American English Dialects". Retrieved 2013-10-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Devon Haynie (2009-03-15). "Hoosier dialects difficult to define". The Journal Gazette. Retrieved 2013-10-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. The Times of Northwest Indiana (2012-01-03). "U.S. steel production up nearly 8 percent in 2011". Retrieved 2013-10-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Catlin 1995, p. 90.
  6. NiSource, Inc. (1999-10-14). "U.S. Steel - Primary Energy Cogeneration Plant at Gary Works Wins National Recognition". Retrieved 2013-10-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. BP. "Whiting Refinery Facility Fact Sheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-10-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Ports of Indiana. "Burns Harbor Executive Summary". Retrieved 2013-10-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Grace College and Seminary. "Orthopaedic Regulatory and Clinical Affairs (ORCA)". Retrieved 2013-10-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Roadshow for Growth and Holly Allen (2013-05-24). "Infographic: Meet the RV Capital of the World". Retrieved 2013-10-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Midwest's Largest Wind Farm Online in Indiana". Grow Indiana Media Ventures. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2013-10-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Catlin, Robert A. (1993). Racial politics and urban planning: Gary, Indiana, 1980-1989.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>