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South Bend, Indiana
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South Bend, Indiana

South Bend is a city located in St. Joseph County, Indiana. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 107,789. The city is the county seat of St. Joseph County6.

Table of contents
1 Geography
2 Demographics
3 History
4 Other Information


South Bend is located at 41°40'21" North, 86°15'19" West (41.672597, -86.255157)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 101.3 km² (39.1 mi²). 100.2 km² (38.7 mi²) of it is land and 1.1 km² (0.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.10% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 107,789 people, 42,908 households, and 25,959 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,075.9/km² (2,786.4/mi²). There are 46,349 housing units at an average density of 462.7/km² (1,198.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 66.05% White, 24.61% African American, 0.41% Native American, 1.20% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 4.87% from other races, and 2.80% from two or more races. 8.45% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 42,908 households out of which 30.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.0% are married couples living together, 17.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.5% are non-families. 32.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.45 and the average family size is 3.12.

In the city the population is spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $32,439, and the median income for a family is $39,046. Males have a median income of $31,958 versus $23,744 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,121. 16.7% of the population and 13.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 24.0% are under the age of 18 and 9.1% are 65 or older.


South Bend was initially laid out in 1831 as the county seat and as one of the four original townships of St. Joseph County. Around 128 people lived in the area at the time, mostly fur traders, merchants, and innkeepers. South Bend was organized as a town in 1835 and was incorporated as a city in 1865.

During the late 1830s through the 1850s, much of South Bend's development centered around the industrial complex of factories located on the two races (man-made canals along the St. Joseph River in South Bend). Of the two, only the East Race remains as a visible reminder of the past.

The other, the West Race, was purchased in 1903 by the Oliver Chilled Plow Company and utilized to produce power for numerous structures throughout South Bend. Currently only parts of this plant and dam remain, as the Century Center Hotel and business complex converted it into a tourism and business venture.

On October 4, 1851, the first steam locomotive entered South Bend (and nearby Mishawaka, Indiana). This led to great interest in the possibility of transportation throughout South Bend by locomotives, and in 1882 the South Bend Street Railway Company attempted the first service of electrified streetcars anywhere in the world. Initially a failure, electric current problems were fixed in late 1882 to connect Mishawaka and South Bend.

These industrial connections and developments soon led the brothers Studebaker to take up shop in the city of South Bend. Founded by Henry and Clem Studebaker (and later funded and joined by J.M. Studebaker), the Studebaker Manufacturing Company was one of a handful of wagon making companies in the world to successfully transfer their business from the building of wagons to the building of automobiles. Being a major automobile manufacturing company, it often outsold in terms of numbers the Ford Motor Company in the first few decades of the 20th century.

Their connection with South Bend industry was massive, leaving a permanent imprint on the skyline of western South Bend. However, due to economic difficulties, the Studebaker Company closed its automotive manufacturing plants in South Bend in December of 1963 (leading to a general decline in the industrial sector of South Bend for decades to come).

Other companies involved in the development of South Bend include the Oliver Chilled Plow Works Company, the Birdsell Manufacturing Company, the Bendix Corporation/Honeywell/AlliedSignal (currently Bendix is manufacturing brakes in South Bend), the Singer Sewing Machine Company, the O'Brien Paint Corp., and the South Bend Toy Company.

Other Information

South Bend is also the home for the University of Notre Dame and several other smaller colleges such as a branch of Indiana University. It has been revitalized in recent times as a financial center of the Michiana area.

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