LaPorte County, Indiana

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LaPorte County, Indiana
LaPorte County Courthouse in La Porte, Indiana
LaPorte County Courthouse in La Porte, Indiana
Location in the state of Indiana
Location in the state of Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Coordinates: 41°36′N 86°43′W / 41.600°N 86.717°W / 41.600; -86.717Coordinates: 41°36′N 86°43′W / 41.600°N 86.717°W / 41.600; -86.717
Country United States United States
State Indiana Indiana
Regions Northwest Indiana and Michiana
Metro area Chicago Metropolitan
Established April 1, 1832
Named for "The Door" or "The Port" (fr.)[1]
County seat La Porte
Largest city Michigan City
(population and total area)
 • Type County
 • Body Board of Commissioners
 • Commissioner Michael Bohacek (R, 1st)
 • Commissioner David L. Decker (D, 2nd)
 • Commissioner Vidya Kora (D, 3rd)
 • County Council
 • County 613.26 sq mi (1,588.3 km2)
 • Land 598.30 sq mi (1,549.6 km2)
 • Water 14.96 sq mi (38.7 km2)
 • Metro 10,874 sq mi (28,160 km2)
Area rank 2nd largest county in Indiana
 • Region 2,726 sq mi (7,060 km2)
Elevation[2] (mean) 778 ft (237 m)
Highest elevation[3] – SW Galena Twp 957 ft (292 m)
Lowest elevation[4] – at Lake Michigan 581 ft (177 m)
Population (2010)
 • County 111,467
 • Estimate (2015) 110,884
 • Rank 15th largest county in Indiana
542nd largest county in U.S.[5]
 • Density 186/sq mi (72/km2)
 • Metro 9,522,434
 • Region 819,537
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) Central (UTC-5)
ZIP Codes 46340, 46345-46, 46348, 46350,
46352, 46360-61, 46365, 46371,
46382, 46390-91, 46532, 46552,
46554, 46574
Area code 219
Congressional districts 1st and 2nd
Indiana Senate districts 5th and 8th
Indiana House of Representatives districts 9th, 17th and 20th
FIPS code 18-091
GNIS feature ID 0450507

I-80.svg Indiana Toll Road logo 1968.svg I-90.svg I-94.svg

U.S. Routes

US 6.svg US 12.svg US 20.svg US 30.svg US 35.svg US 421.svg

State Routes

Indiana 2.svg Indiana 4.svg Indiana 8.svg Indiana 39.svg Indiana 104.svg Indiana 212.svg


La Porte Municipal
Michigan City Municipal


East Arm Little Calumet River
Kankakee River
Lake Michigan
Little Calumet River
Trail Creek

Amtrak station

Michigan City

South Shore Line stations

11th StreetCarroll Avenue Hudson Lake

Public transit Michigan City Transit
  • Indiana county number 46
Demographics (2010)[6]
White Black Asian
84.1% 10.8% 0.5%
Islander Native Other Hispanic
(any race)
0.0% 0.3% 4.3% 5.5%

LaPorte County[7] is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2010, the population was 111,467.[8] The county seat is the city of La Porte,[9] and the largest city is Michigan City.

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

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


LaPorte County was formed in 1832. La porte means "the door" or "the port" in French.[1] 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.[10][11]

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.[12][13]

LaPorte County's initial White American settlers were Yankee immigrants, that is to say they were from New England or were from upstate New York and had parents who were from New England, and were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the colonial era. They were part of a wave of New England settlers moving west into what was then the Northwest Territory after the completion of the Erie Canal. The original White settlers in LaPorte County specifically hailed from the Massachusetts towns of Granville, Boston, Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Andover, Nantucket Island and Hampshire County; the Connecticut towns of Colchester, Wethersfield, Granby and New Haven; the New Hampshire towns of Bradford, Amherst and Goffstown; the Vermont villages of Dorset, Albany and Fairfax; many also came from Orange County, Vermont, Caledonia County, Vermont and Penobscot County, Maine. They were mainly members of the Congregational Church, but as a result of the Second Great Awakening many became Baptists and many also converted to Pentecostalism and Methodism. When they arrived in what is now LaPorte County, there was nothing but virgin forest and wild prairie, the New England settlers cleared roads, built farms, constructed churches, erected government buildings, and established post routes. As a result of this migration, La Porte County was partially culturally continuous with early New England culture for many years.[14]

But by 1850, the three Eastern States that had contributed the most residents to LaPorte County were New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. By then, New Englanders had contributed the smallest number of residents. LaPorte County had the largest number of Southerners north of the Wabash Valley.[15] During the Civil War, the Louisville Journal noted that the 29th Indiana Regiment (mustered out of LaPorte) "may almost be regarded as a Kentucky regiment for a large majority of its members either natives or descendants of native Kentuckians".[16]

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.[12]

Whether the correct spelling of the city and county is "La Porte" or "LaPorte" is disputed,[17] although state law refers to "LaPorte County."[18][19]

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.[20] The highest point, at 957 feet (292 m),[3] is in southwestern Galena Township near County Roads East 600 North and North 150 East. The lowest point, at 581 feet (177 m),[4] is along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Major highways[edit]



The municipalities in LaPorte County and their populations as of the 2010 Census:



Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]


LaPorte County contains 21 townships, more than any other county in the state.[21] The townships, with their populations as of the 2010 Census, are:

Public libraries[edit]

The county is served by five different public library systems:

  • LaCrosse Public Library[22]
  • LaPorte County Public Library has its main location in La Porte as well as the Coolspring, Fish Lake, Hanna, Kingsford Heights, Rolling Prairie and Union Mills branches.[23]
  • Michigan City Public Library[24]
  • Wanatah Public Library[25]
  • Westville-New Durham Township Public Library has its main location in Westville.[26]


Climate and weather[edit]

La Porte, Indiana
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[28]

In recent years, average temperatures in La Porte 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.[28]


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

Colleges and Universities


LaPorte County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Republican Democratic
2016 50.2% 22,687 43.8% 19,798
2012 42.6% 18,615 55.2% 24,107
2008 38.1% 17,918 60.1% 28,258
2004 49.1% 20,916 49.6% 21,114
2000 47.8% 18,994 49.7% 19,736
1996 35.8% 14,106 50.5% 19,879
1992 35.2% 14,962 41.7% 17,717
1988 53.6% 20,537 45.9% 17,585
1984 59.0% 23,346 40.2% 15,904
1980 55.3% 22,424 38.0% 15,387
1976 54.1% 21,989 44.8% 18,217
1972 66.0% 26,243 33.2% 13,222
1968 49.8% 20,295 38.7% 15,780
1964 42.2% 16,270 57.6% 22,220
1960 52.7% 22,738 47.1% 20,317

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.[38][39]

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.[38][39]

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.[39] The Circuit Court and Superior court three are located in the city of La Porte; 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.[39]

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[40] and Indiana House of Representatives districts 9, 17 and 20.[41]

County elected officials[edit]


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. 2016 110,015 [44] −1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[45]
1790-1960[46] 1900-1990[47]
1990-2000[48] 2010-2013[8]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 111,467 people, 42,331 households, and 28,228 families residing in the county.[49] The population density was 186.3 inhabitants per square mile (71.9/km2). There were 48,448 housing units at an average density of 81.0 per square mile (31.3/km2).[20] The racial makeup of the county was 84.1% white, 10.8% black or African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 2.0% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.5% of the population.[49] In terms of ancestry, 30.7% were German, 15.3% were Irish, 11.5% were Polish, 8.3% were English, and 5.9% were American.[50]

Of the 42,331 households, 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.3% were non-families, and 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.00. The median age was 39.6 years.[49]

The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $56,679. Males had a median income of $45,537 versus $30,774 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,599. About 9.9% of families and 13.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.7% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Other = Combined percentages for American Indian or Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; other races; and two or more races


  1. ^ a b "Origin of Indiana County Names". Indiana Historical Bureau. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  2. ^ "LaPorte County". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  3. ^ a b Springville Quadrangle – Indiana – LaPorte Co. (Map). 1:24,000. 7.5-Minute Series (Topographic). United States Geological Survey. 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Michigan City West Quadrangle – Indiana – LaPorte Co. (Map). 1:24,000. 7.5-Minute Series (Topographic). United States Geological Survey. 2013. 
  5. ^ "USA Counties in Profile". STATS Indiana. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  6. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics 2010, Table DP-1, 2010 Demographic Profile Data. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  7. ^ LaPorte County Information Technology. "LaPorte County Online Government". 
  8. ^ a b "La Porte County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  9. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  10. ^ Calumet Beginnings: Schoon, Kenneth J. (2003)
  11. ^ De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co. p. 560. 
  12. ^ a b La Porte County Historical Society Archived 2008-05-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "History of 1838 Trail of Death". 
  14. ^ The expansion of New England: the spread of New England settlement and institutions to the Mississippi River, 1620-1865 by Lois Kimball Matthews page 201-202
  15. ^ Lang, Elfrieda. “Southern Migration to Northern Indiana Before 1850.” Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 349-356. 1954. Lang, Elfrieda. “An Analysis of Northern Indiana’s Population in 1850.” Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 49, Issue 1, March 1953. Rose, Gregory C.” Upland Southerners: The County Origins of Southern Migrants.” Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 82, Issue 3, September 1991.
  16. ^ La Porte Herald, October 19, 1861, page 2.
  17. ^ Stephens, Dave (2012-01-22). "La(?)Porte's Space Odyssey". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  18. ^ Indiana Code 33-33-46.
  19. ^ Indiana Code 3-3-5.
  20. ^ a b "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  21. ^ Daniels, E. D. (1904). A twentieth century history and biographical record of La Porte County, Indiana. Lewis Publishing Co. p. 38. 
  22. ^ "LaCrosse Public Library". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  23. ^ "LaPorte County Public Library". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  24. ^ "Michigan City Public Library". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  25. ^ "Wanatah Public Library". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  26. ^ "Westville-New Durham Township Public Library". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  27. ^ "Franciscan Health is New Name for Leading Hospital System". Franciscan Alliance, Inc. September 6, 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  28. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for La Porte, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  29. ^ "John Glenn School Corporation". 
  30. ^ "LaPorte Community School Corporation". 
  31. ^ "Metropolitan School District of New Durham Township". 
  32. ^ "Michigan City Area Schools". 
  33. ^ "New Prairie United School Corporation". 
  34. ^ "South Central Community School Corporation". 
  35. ^ "Tri-Township Consolidated School Corporation". 
  36. ^ Joseph S. Pete (March 5, 2016). "Purdue University Northwest now officially exists". The Times of Northwest Indiana. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ a b Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  39. ^ a b c d Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  40. ^ "Indiana Senate Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  41. ^ "Indiana House Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  42. ^ LaPorte County Information Technology. "Board of Commissioners". 
  43. ^ LaPorte County Information Technology. "LaPorte County Council". 
  44. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  45. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  47. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  48. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  49. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  50. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  51. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  52. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table DP03, Selected Economic Charactaristics. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
  53. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table DP04, Selected Housing Charactaristics. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2014-06-28.

External links[edit]