LaPorte County, Indiana

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LaPorte County, Indiana
Laporte County Indiana courthouse 2.jpg
Map of Indiana highlighting LaPorte County
Location in the state of Indiana
Map of the United States highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Founded January 1, 1832
Named for French for "The Door"
Seat LaPorte
Largest city Michigan City
 • Total 613.26 sq mi (1,588 km2)
 • Land 598.30 sq mi (1,550 km2)
 • Water 14.96 sq mi (39 km2), 2.44%
 • (2010) 111,467
 • Density 186/sq mi (72/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 2nd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5


  • Indiana county number 46
  • Third largest county in Indiana by area

Coordinates: 41°36′N 86°43′W / 41.600°N 86.717°W / 41.600; -86.717

LaPorte County [1] is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2010, the population was 111,467.[2] The county seat is the city of LaPorte,[3] and the largest city is Michigan City.

This county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area, Northwest Indiana and Michiana.

The La Porte County Courthouse is located in the county seat of La Porte, Indiana and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


LaPorte County was formed in 1832. La porte means "the door" in French. French travelers or explorers so named the area after discovering a natural opening in the dense forests that used to exist in this region, providing a gateway to lands further west.[4][5]

Before white settlement, all of the land that forms modern-day LaPorte County, and adjacent Starke County to the south belonged to the Potawatomi Indian nation. These Indians were forcibly removed to Kansas by the United States government in 1838, and many died on what survivors called the Trail of Death.[6][7]

When the county was initially proposed and organized, its boundaries did not extend as far south or east as they do today. A section of land north of the Kankakee River originally belonged to Starke County. However, residents living in that area had difficulty crossing the river in order to reach the rest of the county. It was necessary to travel some distance east to Lemon's bridge, before making the journey south. Effectively isolated from the rest of Starke County, these residents asked that their land be annexed to LaPorte County, which was completed on January 28, 1842. Thereafter, the Kankakee River formed the southern boundary of the county. Finally, on January 10, 1850, some twenty sections of land were annexed from St. Joseph County to the east, giving LaPorte County the boundaries that essentially exist to this day.[6]

Whether the correct spelling of the city and county is "La Porte" or "LaPorte" is disputed,[8] although state law refers to "LaPorte County."[9][10]

LaPorte County is also famous for being the scene of the Belle Gunness serial murders. She lived on a farm on the outskirts of LaPorte County.


According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 613.26 square miles (1,588.3 km2), of which 598.30 square miles (1,549.6 km2) (or 97.56%) is land and 14.96 square miles (38.7 km2) (or 2.44%) is water.[11]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Major highways[edit]






Unincorporated communities[edit]

Climate and weather[edit]

LaPorte, Indiana
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[12]

In recent years, average temperatures in LaPorte have ranged from a low of 12 °F (−11 °C) in January to a high of 84 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −28 °F (−33 °C) was recorded in January 1977 and a record high of 104 °F (40 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.68 inches (43 mm) in February to 4.79 inches (122 mm) in June.[12]


Public schools in LaPorte County are administered by eight different districts:


The county government is a constitutional body, and is granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana, and by the Indiana Code.

County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.[13][14]

Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.[13][14]

Court: The county has five elected trial court judges. They include the LaPorte Circuit Court and Superior Courts one through four. The judges are elected to six-year terms on partisan ballots. Superior Courts three and four maintain small claims dockets. Decisions from any trial court may be appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals.[14] The Circuit Court and Superior court three are located in the city of LaPorte; Superior courts one, two and four are located in Michigan City.

County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and to be residents of the county.[14]

LaPorte County is part of Indiana's 2nd congressional district and is represented by Jackie Walorski in the United States Congress. It is also part of Indiana Senate districts 5 and 8[15] and Indiana House of Representatives districts 9, 17 and 20.[16]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 8,184
1850 12,145 48.4%
1860 22,919 88.7%
1870 27,062 18.1%
1880 30,985 14.5%
1890 34,445 11.2%
1900 38,386 11.4%
1910 45,797 19.3%
1920 50,443 10.1%
1930 60,490 19.9%
1940 63,660 5.2%
1950 76,808 20.7%
1960 95,111 23.8%
1970 105,342 10.8%
1980 108,632 3.1%
1990 107,066 −1.4%
2000 110,106 2.8%
2010 111,467 1.2%
Est. 2012 111,246 −0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]
2012 Estimate[18]

As of 2000, there were 110,106 people, 41,050 households, and 28,611 families residing in the county. The population density was 184 people per square mile (71/km²). There were 45,621 housing units at an average density of 29 persons/km² (76 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 86.26% White, 10.13% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.31% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.09% of the population. 25.9% were of German, 12.2% Poles, 10.2% American, 9.0% Irish and 5.5% English ancestry according to the 2000 United States Census.

There were 41,050 households out of which 31.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.80% were married couples living together, 11.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.30% were non-families. 25.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.50% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 13.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 105.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $41,430, and the median income for a family was $49,872. Males had a median income of $36,686 versus $23,955 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,913. About 6.30% of families and 8.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.50% of those under the age of 18 and 9.00% ages 65 or older.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LaPorte County Government website
  2. ^ "La Porte County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Calumet Beginnings: Schoon, Kenneth J. (2003)
  5. ^ De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co. p. 560. 
  6. ^ a b La Porte County Historical Society
  7. ^ History of 1838 Trail of Death
  8. ^ Stephens, Dave (2012-01-22). "La(?)Porte's Space Odyssey". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  9. ^ Indiana Code 33-33-46.
  10. ^ Indiana Code 3-3-5.
  11. ^ "Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  12. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for LaPorte, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  13. ^ a b Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  14. ^ a b c d Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  15. ^ "Indiana Senate Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  16. ^ "Indiana House Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  17. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved July 27, 2013. 

External links[edit]