The Largest County in Hoosier Nation
Named after Revolutionary War General Frances Marion, in 1821, Marion County, Indiana, is located in the state's heart. It is one of the 60 most populous counties in America, and according to the 2019 US Census, is home to more than 964,000 people, with the majority residing in the Indianapolis area. Marion County encompasses several large cities and townships, including Indianapolis, Lawrence, and Rocky Ripple. It also encompasses some small regions such as North Crows Nest, Wynnedale, and Spring Hill. The Marion County region has been home to many successful entrepreneurs, entertainers, and sports icons throughout its history.
Where it all Started and Where it Might be Headed
Created in 1822, Marion County began as part of the Treaty of St. Mary's and called the New Purchase. In 1825, Indiana's state capital moved to Marion County to the area known as Indianapolis. With the expansion of the railway, Indianapolis grew in population. A significant amount of industrial growth eventually led to this area becoming the most populated in the state. Meatpacking and metalworking were popular industries in the county's early history. It was not long before the automotive industry began to dramatically increase in this area. This led to the birth of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909.
As Marion County continued to add more townships and cities in the surrounding areas, the county boundaries became far-reaching. Some people began moving outside the city limits to the suburbs of the county.
These rapid changes prompted the unification of city-county governments which became known as called Unigov. These changes merged area police forces, school systems, and fire services to address all residents' needs. This allowed more diverse and extensive populations to be represented at the local governmental level. Four cities declined to take part in the merger. These four cities include Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport, and Speedway. Over time, this area became the 55th largest county in the United States (in 2020) and embodied a wide assortment of economic opportunities.
Building the Dream
Marion County is home to many successful businesses and industries. The top employers in Marion County include Indiana University Health University Hospital, Eli Lilly and Company, Indiana University School of Medicine, and Rolls-Royce Corporation. Other important industries are agriculture, financial institutions, pharmaceuticals, and transportation. It is a hub of major highways, railways, and air transportation, making it essential for distribution and tourism.
With many employment opportunities, the US Census reported in 2019 that Marion County's average annual income was below the national average at $48,316, with 15.2% of the population living in poverty. According to the Indiana Business Review, Marion County is projected to increase its employment outlook over the next several years. It continues to attract talented leaders and prominent investors that will help further develop its economic status.
More than Meets the Eye
In 2010, the land area of Marion County was measured to be 396.30 square miles and meets Hamilton County to the north, Hancock County to the east, Johnson County to the south, and Hendricks County to the west. Marion County's terrain is mostly flat, with some low-lying rolling hills. It is not connected to a major waterway, but the White River runs through the county. Fall Creek and Eagle Creek connect with White River and have established dams. These dams helped to create Eagle Creek Reservoir and Geist Reservoir.
The temperature in Marion County, Indiana, can vary depending on the seasons. Still, the average temperature can get as low as 18 Degrees during the winter and as high as 84 degrees in the summer. This area receives an average of about two inches of precipitation per month.
Who lives in Marion County
In July 2019, the US Census reported a population of 964,582 people, 372,358 households, and an average of 2.51 persons per household. 86% of the people living in Marion County have a high school diploma, with almost 40% having a bachelor's degree or higher. 10% of residents under 65 years old have a disability.
During this same census reporting period, the racial makeup of Marion County was 63.5% White, 29.1% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 10.9% Hispanic or Latino, and 3.0% from two or more races. The county is comprised of about 52% women, and 24.6% of the population are children under the age of eighteen.
Something for Everyone
Marion County has a variety of attractions to offer residents and visitors. Whether it's an indoor or outdoor event that is of interest, this area can cater to the needs of all. Indoor must-see attractions include the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the United Church Cathedral. In contrast, an outdoor leisure activity could be strolling Garfield Park Conservatory & Sunken Garden's beautiful scenery or visiting the Soldier and Sailors Monument.
People who love the outdoors will enjoy spending a day (or more) at White River State Park or hiking the Monon Trail. Here one can find a peaceful place to enjoy nature and may even encounter wildlife. Still, if more adventure is required, then a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be high on the list, as well as attending, if in town on the last Sunday of May. Marion County has many must-see sights that make it a fascinating and entertaining place to live, work, play and visit!!