Indiana is a Midwestern American state that covers an area of about 36,418 square miles which makes it the 38th largest state in the country. Estimates from the US Census Bureau in 2017 indicate that Indiana is home to approximately 6,666,818 people, a slight change from 2010 estimates that placed the population at 6,484,125. Indiana's population density is the 16th highest in the US with 183 people living in a single square mile. The largest city in the state is Indianapolis, which is the state capital, having a population of about 829,718 people. On December 11, 1816, Indiana became the 19th state to gain admission into the US. Indiana is a racially diverse state with people of different races living comfortably in the state.
Settlement of white Americans in Indiana dates back to the 1600's when Robert de La Salle became the first European to set foot in Indiana in 1679. A trading post was established near Vincennes around which the first permanent settlement was created. Caucasians dominate the population of Indiana as non-Hispanic whites make up 81% of the population. The percentage of white people in Indiana has been on a decline from 1990 when they made up 90.6% of the individuals living in the state. A vast majority of the white population in Indiana claim to be of German descent. A significant number of people also claim English, Irish, Polish, and American origin. Most of the people who claimed American ancestry are descended from the English.
African Americans make up around 9.7% of the state's population according to data from the US Census Bureau. Since 1990, when they made up 7.8% of the population, the number of African Americans in Indiana has been increasing. African Americans make up the most significant percentage of the population in the city of Gary, slightly over 80%. In Indianapolis, they make up approximately 27.8% of the population. During Indiana's history, African Americans have been victims of racially motivated prejudice although the government is working to improve race relations in the state.
The state of Indiana is home to about 426,000 people of Hispanic descent which is about 6.5% of its population. The Hispanic community is growing faster than all other minority communities in the state. The Hispanic population make up the most significant percentage of East Chicago's population at around 54%. Hispanics make up about 9.2% of the people living in Indianapolis. Data from the Indiana Business Research Centre indicates that most of the Hispanic people in the state are from Mexico. El Salvador and Guatemala also have a significant representation in the state.
Race Relations in Indiana
During different periods in Indiana's history, the different races living in the state have been stuck in perpetual conflict. During the 1800's Native American communities were removed from the territory which resulted in some deaths. The most infamous is the Potawatomi Trail of Death where 40 members of the Potawatomi tribe died after armed eviction from their ancestral land. African Americans were mistreated particularly after the introduction of segregation. Over the years, race relations in the state have improved though according to many activists there is still room for improvement.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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