Facts and Statistics about Indiana

Facts and Statistics about Indiana

Date of Statehood

December 11, 1816 (the 19th state)

State Capital

Indianapolis (Corydon was the state capital until 1825)

Lowest Point in Indiana

320 feet above sea level (Posey County)

Highest Point in Indiana

1,257 feet above sea level (Wayne County)

Current Governor

Governor Mitch Daniels

Lieutenant Governor Rebecca S. Skillman

Origin of the Name Indiana

The name "Indiana" simply means "land of the Indians." This refers to a large number of Indians that were located throughout the state when the first settlers to this state arrived.

Origin of the Nickname Hoosier

Indiana may have been referred to as the "Hoosier State" as early as the 1830s. There are many explanations as to why we are called Hoosiers. Some of the explanations are funny, illogical and believable. Here are some of the most common explanations.

The Who's Here Story-

on the early Indiana frontier, log homes were few and far between in the Indiana interior. There were no real close neighbors, so when someone knocked on a cabin door or was heard coming through the woods, a person would yell out "Who's here" or "Who's yere." This evolved into the word "Hoosier."

The Who's Ear Story-

this story was popularized by the Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. In frontier Indiana there were many small taverns and saloons scattered throughout the state. Continually fights broke out in these bars with punching, biting, scratching and gouging occurring. The next morning the bartender was likely to find an ear on the floor of the saloon, nudge it with his foot and call out "Who's Ear?" This evolved into the word "Hoosier."

The Hoosier River Men Story-

Along the waterways of the state there were bullying and rambunctious Indiana rivermen, always ready for a brawl, who were reputed to be quite successful in winning all of their fights, "hushing" their opponents. They became known as "Hushers" and eventually "Hoosiers."

Mr. Hoosier Story-

It is said that a contactor named Hoosier liked to hire Indiana men to work on the Louisville and Portland Canal. These men became known as "Hoosier's men" and later, "Hoosiers."

State Population

Indiana State Population (2000 estimate) 6,114,745

Indiana's Size

35,867 square miles (makes it the 38th largest state). Indiana is the smallest state west of the Appalachian Mountains (not counting Hawaii).

Indiana's Governmental Structure

The head of Indiana's government is the governor

The governor is elected for a term of four years (and can only serve eight out of every twelve years). The legislative body of Indiana is called the General Assembly

It consists of a 50 elected member called the Senate And 100 elected members called the House of Representative The members of the state Senate are elected for a term of four years The members of the state House of Representatives are elected for a two year term.

The Judicial Branch of the Indiana government has five justices that serve in the state Supreme Court.

Twelve judges make up the state Court of Appeals and circuit courts. The General Assembly has the right to create new courts if necessary. Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor for an initial two-year term of office At the completion of the two years if a yes-no ballot decides they are to be retained, the justices will serve a ten-year term of office. Circuit courts consist of judges elected by citizens of Indiana for six-year terms.

Animals That Once Called Indiana Home

Species that once roamed free through Indiana disappeared as settlers moved in and cleared lands. The following is a list of animals that use to roam throughout Indiana.


Red Wolf
Black Rat
Black Bear
Mountain Lion
Last Seen


Gray Wolf
Eastern Spotted Skunk
River Otter (now reintroduced)
Prairie Chicken
Last Seen


Indiana Natural Disasters


Jennings County was in the path of the longest continuous tornado on May 26, 1917. The tornado began in Louisiana and traveled 293 miles when it arrived in Jennings County. In Kouts, Indiana a mansion was picked up off of its foundation and moved one block without disturbing the contents inside the mansion. During the two days of the traveling tornado, 249 people were killed and the damaged added up to $5.5 million

On April 3-4, 1974, 148 tornados hit Indiana in a giant swath of tornadoes throughout the South and Midwest. From midnight to 7 a.m., 315 people died and damaged was estimated at over $600 million.

In 1925, 689 people were killed in a giant tornado that only lasted five hours. The small town of Princeton, Indiana was totally destroyed. The cost of this tornado exceeded $500 million. The number of deaths were of those found; many people never were located.

On April 11, 1965, 35 tornados crossed northern Indiana. Of the 271 killed, 130 came from Elkhart, Goshen, Ft. Wayne, Dunlap, Marion, Kokomo and Lebanon, Indiana.


In 1937 the Indiana residents along the Ohio River endured a flood that reached 53.74 feet above flood stage. Forty-six percent of the town of Evansville, Indiana was under water. No record has survived (or even been made) as to how many casualties there were because of this flood. Thousands of Hoosier were left homeless and property damage was likely in the millions of dollars.

Actors and Actresses Who Have Called Indiana Home

Steve McQueen-born in the town of Beech Grove, March 24, 1930

Florence Henderson-native of Dale, Indiana. Known as Mrs. Brady on the Brady Bunch television series.

Will Geer-born March 9, 1902, in Frankfort, Indiana. Known as Grandpa Zeb Walton on The Waltons television series.

James Dean-born February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana. Movie actor in East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause. Died September 30, 1955 in an automobile crash. Buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana.

Carole Lombard (Jane Alice Peters)-born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Actress in several movies and wife of Clark Gable. Died in an airplane crash in 1941 after visiting Indianapolis.

Shelly Long-born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Portrayed Diane Chambers, barmaid, in the long-running television series Cheers.

Karl Malden (Malden Sukilovich)-born in Gary, Indiana on March 22, 1914. Actor who has starred in many motion pictures and television series. Portrayed Omar Bradley in the Academy Award winning Patton.

Sydney Pollack-all-time great director was born in Lafayette, Indiana.

Howard Hawks-born in Goshen, Indiana. Famous director of movies, of his most famous were Dawn Patrol and Sergeant York.

Richard "Red" Skelton-born in Vincennes, Indiana in 1913. Famous comedian and professional clown.

David Letterman-born in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 12, 1947. Famous talk show host.

Jane Pauley-born in Indianapolis, Indiana and replaced Barbara Walters on the Today Show. Co-host's NBC's Dateline documentary television series.

Famous Indiana Musicians

John Cougar Mellencamp-born in Seymour, Indiana. Currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Bill Bailey (known as Axl Rose)-born in Lafayette, Indiana. Heavy metal rocker.

Janie Fricke-born in South Whitley, Indiana. Country music singer.

Cole Porter-born in 1892 at Peru, Indiana. Famous musician and early jazz star. Died on October 15, 1964 after routine operation for kidney stones.

Hoagy Carmichael-famous composer and musician born in Bloomington 1899.

Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five-all born in Gary, Indiana. Formed the famous brother group in 1966.