Fort Wayne is a city located in Indiana. With a 2020 population of 276,286, it is the 2nd largest city in Indiana (after Indianapolis) and the 76th largest city in the United States. Fort Wayne is currently growing at a rate of 1.08% annually and its population has increased by 8.91% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 253,691 in 2010. Fort Wayne reached it's highest population of 276,286 in 2021. Spanning over 111 miles, Fort Wayne has a population density of 2,497 people per square mile.
The average household income in Fort Wayne is $65,377 with a poverty rate of 15.96%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $764 per month, and the median house value is $115,100. The median age in Fort Wayne is 35 years, 33.5 years for males, and 36.4 years for females. For every 100 females there are 93.6 males.
One interesting fact about the population in Fort Wayne is that it has the largest population of Burmese Americans in the country. There are approximately 6,000 of these residents living in Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne is a religious center, known as the “City of Churches” because it is home to about 360 churches. Over half of city residents say that they are religious, with the majority following Catholicism.
Fort Wayne Population Growth
Fort Wayne has experienced rapid growth throughout its history, except a population decline recorded between the 1970 and 1980 censuses. The city has primarily seen population percentage increases in the double-digits, with growth between the last two censuses held in 2000 and 2010 reflecting a 23.3% increase. Since the previous poll was taken, the population has grown about 4.3%. Based on the city’s efforts to revitalize and expand, the current job opportunities available, and past population trends, it’s to be expected that Fort Wayne will continue to see continued growth and may soon hit the 300,000 resident milestone.
Fort Wayne was built by the US Army in 1794 and was named after statesman Anthony Wayne. The fort was incorporated as a town in 1829 and underwent growth following the completion of the canal and railroad. The population was just 300 when it was designated as a town, but this number jumped to over 2,000 when it was incorporated as a city only 11 years later.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Fort Wayne’s population had already reached 50,000, primarily due to the migration of German and Irish immigrants that came to work in industrial and railroad jobs. During this time, the economy of Fort Wayne was centered on manufacturing, and it was during this period that many new inventions and innovations came from the city, including gas pumps and the first home video game console.
The Great Depression affected Fort Wayne much like other cities in the US by displacing much of its factory workforce. However, just a few years later, over 7,000 people in Fort Wayne were employed to improve and develop local infrastructure. Following World War II, the city became prosperous again. The 1950s saw an expansion of the city through the development of thousands of homes and the city’s first bypass and arena. Construction continued through the 1960s to build out the rural areas.
The deindustrialization of the 1980s brought challenges to Fort Wayne, including the loss of manufacturing jobs and an increase in crime. The city was also hit by a flood in the early 1980s that displaced thousands and led to millions of dollars in damage. The next decade brought a period of revitalization for the city, with local officials working to reduce crime and redevelop the downtown area. By the end of the decade, the city had a much lower crime rate and a 2.5% unemployment rate.
The city continues to focus on redevelopment and growth. The city has renovated and expanded many of its buildings including the public library and its art museum. New renovations in recent years also include the opening of the Jefferson Pointe lifestyle center and the Parkview Regional Medical Center. Today, the city’s economy is no longer based around manufacturing but instead is centered on transportation and logistics, healthcare, financial services, distribution, and leisure and hospitality.