South Bend is a city located in the state of Indiana. It serves as the county seat for St. Joseph County. Recent estimates show that the population of South Bend is 102,000, making it the fourth largest city in Indiana by population. Today, the city is a hub of economics and culture in the Northern Indiana area.
South Bend History
The region was first inhabited by tribes including the Miami and Potawatomi people. Europeans first settled the area during the 19th century, when trading posts in the South Bend area were established. By the 1830s, the area was becoming more populated. In 1830, it was given the name South Bend.
Just one year later, the city was laid out to be a county seat. The town was also being designed and in 1835 was established. Like many other cities during this time, South Bend became more industrialized. There were many factories built along the St. Joseph River and in 1851, a steam locomotive arrived. The 19th century saw continued growth with the establishment of companies including Studebaker, Singer Sewing Company and Oliver Chilled Plow Company. The population and the city continued to grow, and many Europeans immigrated to the area to work in the factories. In 1842, the University of Notre Dame was founded, helping to boost the economy. In 1865, South Bend was incorporated as a city.
The city continued to grow larger during the 20th century with the arrival of more industries, including South Bend Watch Company, Bendix Corporation, and Honeywell. Electric rail service was available, later followed by an electronic trolley system.
However, the city faced troubles with the decline of the manufacturing industry. In 1950, over half of the employment was in manufacturing. However, by 2000, it represented just 16% of jobs. Job loss led to a decline in population.
Today, the company is trying to revitalize and attract residents by turning to the tech industry. New businesses are setting up shop, and in 2015, positive population growth was recorded for the first time in almost 50 years.
South Bend Population Statistics
The population of South Bend was estimated to be over 101,000 in 2016. The city has an area of 41.82 square miles, and it has a population density of 2,457.37 people per square mile.
There are more female residents than males, making up 51.6% of the total population. The largest age group is under the age of 18, making up 27.3% of the population. Ten percent of the population is 18 to 24 years old, 27.1% are 25 to 44, 23.1% are 45 to 64 and 12.5% are at least 65. Approximately 16.7% of the population lives below the federal poverty line.
The city’s largest employer is the University of Notre Dame, which provides over 5,000 jobs. Beacon Medical Group, South Bend Community School Corporation, AM General and Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center are other top employers in South Bend.
South Bend Population Growth
The decline of manufacturing affected South Bend’s population significantly. The population peaked in 1960 at 132,445 residents. However, by the time of the 1970 census, that number had dropped by 5%. The city continued to see significant drops in population, falling to 101,166 at the time of the 2010 census. Recent estimates show that the population has risen 0.6% since the last poll. Though this number is small, it is promising. The city’s efforts to attract new businesses and industries could put it back on track to increase its population in the years ahead.