Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington, Indiana
City of Bloomington
Kirkwood Avenue looking towards downtown.


Location of Bloomington in Monroe County, Indiana.
Coordinates: 39°09′44″N 86°31′45″W / 39.16222°N 86.52917°W / 39.16222; -86.52917Coordinates: 39°09′44″N 86°31′45″W / 39.16222°N 86.52917°W / 39.16222; -86.52917
Country United States
State Indiana
County Monroe
Townships Bloomington, Perry, Richland, Van Buren
  Mayor John Hamilton (D)
  City 23.44 sq mi (60.70 km2)
  Land 23.25 sq mi (60.22 km2)
  Water 0.18 sq mi (0.48 km2)
Elevation[2] 771 ft (235 m)
Population (2010)[3]
  City 80,405
  Estimate (2016)[4] 84,465
  Density 3,632.59/sq mi (1,402.57/km2)
  Metro 175,506
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
ZIP codes 47401–47408
Area code 812 & 930
FIPS code[2][5] 18-05860
GNIS ID[2][5] 431207
Interstate Highways
Major State Roads
Waterways Clear Creek
Jackson Creek
Lake Monroe
Lake Lemon
Airports Monroe County Airport

Bloomington is a city in and the county seat of Monroe County in the southern region of the U.S. state of Indiana.[6] It is the seventh-largest city in Indiana and the fourth-largest outside the Indianapolis metropolitan area. According to the Monroe County History Center, Bloomington is known as the "Gateway to Scenic Southern Indiana." The city was established in 1818 by a group of settlers from Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Virginia who were so impressed with "a haven of blooms" that they called it Bloomington.[7]

The population was 80,405 at the 2010 census.[8] The city's population was estimated at 84,067 as of July 2016 by the U.S. Census Bureau.[9]

Bloomington is the home to Indiana University Bloomington. Established in 1820, IU Bloomington has 49,695[10] students, as of September 2016, and is the original and largest campus of Indiana University. Most of the campus buildings are built of Indiana limestone.

Bloomington is also the home of the Indiana University School of Education, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University Press, the Kelley School of Business, the Kinsey Institute, the Indiana University School of Optometry, the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute, and the Indiana University School of Informatics.

Bloomington has been designated a Tree City for 32 years, as of 2015.[11][12] The city was also the location of the Academy Award-winning 1979 movie Breaking Away, featuring a reenactment of Indiana University's annual Little 500 bicycle race. Monroe County's famous limestone quarries are also featured in the movie.


Bloomington was platted in 1818.[13] A post office has been in operation at Bloomington since 1825.[14] Bloomington was incorporated in 1827.[15]

The Elias Abel House, Blair-Dunning House, Bloomington City Hall, Bloomington West Side Historic District, Cantol Wax Company Building, Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, Cochran-Helton-Lindley House, Courthouse Square Historic District, Hinkle-Garton Farmstead, Home Laundry Company, Illinois Central Railroad Freight Depot, Johnson's Creamery, Legg House, Millen House, Millen-Chase-McCalla House, Monroe Carnegie Library, Monroe County Courthouse, Morgan House, J.L. Nichols House and Studio, North Washington Street Historic District, The Old Crescent, Princess Theatre, Prospect Hill Historic District, Second Baptist Church, Seminary Square Park, Steele Dunning Historic District, University Courts Historic District, Vinegar Hill Historic District, Wicks Building, Woolery Stone Company, and Andrew Wylie House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[16][17]


According to the 2010 census, Bloomington has a total area of 23.359 square miles (60.50 km2), of which 23.16 square miles (59.98 km2) (or 99.15%) is land and 0.199 square miles (0.52 km2) (or 0.85%) is water.[18][19]


Southern Indiana receives an abundance of rain, with a yearly average of nearly 45 inches.

Climate data for Bloomington, Indiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
Average high °F (°C) 38.8
Average low °F (°C) 21.2
Record low °F (°C) −21
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.66
Average snowfall inches (cm) 5.7
Source #1: Weatherbase[20]
Source #2:


Bloomington is an area of irregular limestone terrain characterized by sinks, ravines, fissures, underground streams, sinking streams, springs and caves.[21] It is situated in the rolling hills of southern Indiana, resting on the intersection of the Norman Uplands and the Mitchell Plain. The relatively varied topography of the city provides a sharp contrast to the flatter terrain more typical of central to northern portions of Indiana.


Bloomington is located on a comparatively high ground, the summit of the divide between the basins of the West Fork and East Fork of Indiana's White River. Accordingly, there are no major watercourses within the city, nor is much groundwater available for wells.[21] The largest stream within the city itself is Clear Creek, with its eastern branch known on the Indiana University campus as Jordan River.

Due to the absence of either natural lakes or rivers or groundwater in or near the city, a number of dams have been constructed on nearby creeks over the last 100 years to provide for the water needs of Bloomington and Monroe County. Early 20th-century damming projects occurred at a number of locations southwest of the city, the most notable of them being the Leonard Springs Dam. Due to the limestone formations underlying the reservoirs and the dams, water kept seeping from the reservoirs through naturally developing underground channels. Despite all efforts, the city was never able to fully stop the leakage, and had to resort to pumping leaking water back to the reservoir.[21]

By the 1920s, a more radical solution was needed to deal with the water crisis. A new reservoir, known as Griffy Lake, was constructed in a more geologically suitable area north of the city.[21] (It is now within Bloomington's official city limits.) Later, in the 1950s, two much larger reservoirs, Lake Lemon and Lake Monroe were created in the northeastern and southeastern parts of Monroe County. Monroe Lake was created by the US Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, but has since been used to supply the city and the county with water. The water pumping station at Griffy Lake has been mothballed.[22]


PCB pollution, associated with Westinghouse's operations, long was a concern in the area.[23][24] A number of sites,[25] in particular, Bennett's Dump and Lemon Lane Landfill at the northwestern edge of the city and Neal's Landfill in the county, were listed as Superfund sites. Clean-up operations at the Bennett Quarry site, started in 1983, were largely completed by 2000.,[26] while cleanups at the other sites were completed in 2012.


Historical population
Est. 201684,465[4]5.0%
Source: US Census Bureau

Bloomington is the principal city of the Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Greene, Monroe, and Owen counties[27] and had a combined population of 175,506 at the 2000 census.[28]

2010 census

As of the 2010 census,[3] there were 80,405 people, 31,425 households, and 11,267 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,471.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,340.4/km2). There were 33,239 housing units at an average density of 1,435.2 per square mile (554.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.0% White, 4.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 8.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.5% of the population.

There were 31,425 households of which 16.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.3% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 64.1% were non-families. 38.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.76.

The median age in the city was 23.3 years. 11.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 44.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23% were from 25 to 44; 13.3% were from 45 to 64; and 7.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.3% male and 49.7% female.

2000 census

As of the census[28] of 2000, there were 69,291 people, 26,468 households, and 10,454 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,511.1 people per square mile (1,356.0/km²). There were 28,400 housing units at an average density of 1,439.1 per square mile (555.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.03% White, 4.24% African American, 0.29% Native American, 5.26% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.10% from other races, and 2.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.49% of the population. 22.9% were of German, 10.2% Irish, 9.1% English and 8.4% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 89.3% spoke English, 2.9% Spanish, 1.3% Korean, 1.1% German and 1.0% Chinese or Mandarin as their first language.

There were 26,468 households out of which 17.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.2% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 60.5% were non-families. 39.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.76.

In the city, the population was spread out with 12.7% under the age of 18, 42.3% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 12.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,377, and the median income for a family was $50,054. Males had a median income of $32,470 compared to $26,100 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,481. About 10.3% of families and 29.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.3% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


The Bloomington and Monroe County region is home to major employers representing a diverse collection of fields, including education, the life sciences, advanced manufacturing and technology.[29]

Bloomington is a regional economic center anchored by Indiana University and home to a diverse business community involved in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, technology, health care, and the arts. Bloomington's concentration of employment in the life sciences is six times greater than the U.S. average, and employment in the technology sector has grown by over 80 percent in recent years.[30] Companies based in Bloomington include Cook Group, Author Solutions,

Bloomington has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of "America’s Best Cities for Doing Business" and as one of Entrepreneur Magazine's Top 50 "Hottest Small Cities for Entrepreneurs." Additionally, Forbes Magazine ranked Bloomington No. 3 in its "Best Places for Business Careers" feature.

Major employers

# Employer # of Employees[31]
1 Indiana University Bloomington 9,700
2 Cook Group 4,563
3 Indiana University Health-Bloomington 2,114
4 Monroe County Community School Corporation 2,051
5 Kroger 840
6 Monroe County 763
7 City of Bloomington 750
8 Baxter Healthcare Pharmaceuticals 700
9 Garden Villa 500
10 Walmart 420

Arts and culture

Bloomington is home to several professional and amateur theater companies, among the most notable are: Indiana University Dept. of Theatre & Drama; Cardinal Stage Company; the Bloomington Playwrights Project; and Theatre of the People. The Indiana University Auditorium is a 3,000-seat performing arts venue which brings in national tours of musicals, plays and other live entertainment.

Bloomington is home to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, which is a renovated 616 seat vaudeville and movie house built in 1922. Known locally as the "Indiana Theater" or the "Bus-Chum", it was operated until 1995 as a movie theater. In 1995, the building was donated to the community for use as a performing arts center. In 2006, the theater played host to more than 260 public performances. Bloomington also offers artists and entertainers performance space at the Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center, a community arts center that has hosted hundreds of performances through the last two decades.

Bloomington has been home to Plan-It-X Records and many popular folk punk bands. Bloomington is also home to the record labels Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar and BlueSanct. The Grammy Nominated band The Fray recorded their Triple Platinum debut album How to Save a Life at Echo Park Studios in Bloomington. Bloomington is also the hometown of dark folk rockers Murder By Death. The "Zine" publishing company, Microcosm Publishing, has had a mail order warehouse in Bloomington. The city hosts the Lotus Festival of World Music, which occurs each fall.

Much of Bloomington's music originates in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, its Opera Theater and public performances numbering more than a thousand each year.

Traditional music is popular in Bloomington due to the presence of the Archives of Traditional Music and Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Bloomington has been home to a number of musicians and "scholars" over the years, including Strawberry McCloud, Lotus Dickey, Miles Krassen, Anthony Seeger, Bob Lucas, Caroline Peyton, Mark Bingham, Willy Schwartz, Jessica Radcliffe, Hawk Hubbard, Linda Higginbotham, Brad Leftwich, Ruthie Allen, Grey Larsen, Cindy Kallet, Bruce Anderson, Pete Sutherland, Malcolm Dalglish, Sam Bartlett, Jamie Gans, and Ken Perlman. From 1985-1993 Bloomington was home to the one-time Drum Corps International champion Star of Indiana. In 1993, the corp moved to musical theatre which created the group Blast!.

Bloomington is also home to a variety of museums and galleries such as the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University, the Monroe County History Center, Wylie House Museum, and the Grunwald Gallery of Art.

Downtown Bloomington is typically referred to as the area between First to Eleventh Streets and Madison to Lincoln Streets, with the vast majority of the dining, shopping and drinking establishments being located on the two main north/south thoroughfares of Walnut Street and College Avenue, which run parallel on either side of the courthouse. Portions of this one-way pair, along with segments of the east/west Sixth Street and Kirkwood Avenues, comprise Bloomington's historic courthouse square.

Bloomington and Monroe County's B-Line walking trail, on the site of a former railroad line, bisects the downtown area as well, providing an area for walking, biking, running and hiking.

One community service based organization, Habitat for Humanity, provides opportunities to help build hope in families, while Mother Hubbard's Cupboard provides free food to families in need.


Post-secondary education

Elementary schools

  • Arlington Heights Elementary School
  • Bloomington Montessori School
  • Childs Elementary School
  • Clear Creek Elementary School
  • Clear Creek Christian School
  • Ellettsville Intermediate
  • Ellettsville Primary
  • Fairview Elementary School
  • Grandview Elementary School
  • Harmony School
  • Highland Park Elementary School
  • Lakeview Elementary School
  • Lighthouse Christian Academy
  • Marlin Elementary School
  • Pinnacle School (K–12)
  • Prep Academy
  • The Project School (K–8)
  • Rogers-Binford Elementary School
  • St. Charles Catholic School
  • Summit Elementary Schools
  • Templeton Elementary School
  • Unionville Elementary School
  • University Elementary School

Middle schools

  • Batchelor Middle School
  • Edgewood Jr. High
  • Harmony School
  • Jackson Creek Middle School
  • Lighthouse Christian Academy
  • St. Charles Catholic School
  • Tri-North Middle School

High schools






Bloomington also receives stations from Indianapolis; it is part of the Indianapolis market.

A five-channel public-access television station is housed in the Monroe County Public Library. The station, known as Community Access Television Services or CATS, was established in 1973 and serves as a "dedicated constitutional forum."[33] In April 1995, Rox, a program produced at CATS (then Bloomington Community Access Television), became the first TV series distributed via the web, with an episode titled "Global Village Idiots."[34]

Radio stations




Bloomington is a gold-rated bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists.[35]

Bloomington and Indiana University plan to add a dockless bike share program.


Bloomington, for many years was one of the largest cities without an interstate or freeway expressway. However, interstate access finally occurred in December 2015 when the Interstate 69 expansion between Evansville and Indianapolis was completed to Bloomington.

The upgrading of SR 37 from a 4 Lane Highway to Interstate standards for the next section of I-69 between Bloomington and Martinsville is under construction and will be completed by the middle of 2018. The last section between Martinsville and Indianapolis is still several years away.

State Road 45 (SR 45) and State Road 46 (SR 46) run through Bloomington together on a four-lane highway known as the "bypass".

State Road 48 (SR 48) starts as a four-lane highway on the city's west side before narrowing to two-lanes at Oard Rd outside the city limits.

Sister cities

Bloomington has four sister-city relationships.

Notable people

Note: This list does not include students attending Indiana University. Please see List of Indiana University (Bloomington) people for famous alumni.

Points of interest

See also


  1. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 28, 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 "Feature ID 431207". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  3. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
  4. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  5. 1 2 "FIPS55 Data: Indiana". FIPS55 Data. United States Geological Survey. February 23, 2006. Archived from the original on June 18, 2006. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  6. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. Monroe County History Center. "A Short History of Bloomington & Monroe County". City of Bloomington, Indiana. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  8. Staff. "Blooming Census Data". City of Bloomington, Indiana. Archived from the original on August 25, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  9. "Quickfacts: Bloomington city, Indiana". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  10. "Indiana University Bloomington: About". Indiana University Bloomington. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  11. "2015 Tree City USA Communities in Indiana". Arbor Day Foundation. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  12. "2013 Tree Cities USA Communities in Indiana". Arbor Day Foundation. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  13. History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana: Their People, Industries, and Institutions. B.F. Bowen. 1914. p. 435.
  14. "Monroe County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  15. Blanchard, Charles (1884). Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. F.A. Battey & Company. p. 463.
  16. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  17. "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 3/24/14 through 3/28/14. National Park Service. April 4, 2014.
  18. "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  19. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  20. "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Bloomington – Indiana University, Indiana, United States of America – Travel, Vacation and Reference Information". Canty and Associates LLC. October 2011.
  21. 1 2 3 4 Maxwell, Donal H. (January 1921), "Impounded water in Bloomington, Ind.", Municipal and county engineering: design, construction, maintenance, and operation of all public works, 60 (1): 159–161
  22. Water Basics: Stream Archived September 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. (City of Bloomington)
  23. Mellowitz, Jim (October 21, 1985), "Pcb Solution Creates More Controversy", Chicago Tribune
  24. "PCBs: Toxic Chemical Waste A Tragic Legacy For Ind. Town". The News and Courier. October 20, 1985.
  25. "PCBs". Archived from the original on February 2, 2015. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  26. "Superfund Information Systems Home - US EPA". Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  27. Metropolitan statistical areas and components Archived May 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Office of Management and Budget, May 11, 2007. Accessed 2008-07-30.
  28. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  29. "Local Businesses". Archived from the original on March 26, 2013. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  30. "Facts & Figures". Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  32. "Hours & Locations". Monroe County Public Library. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  33. "About CATS".
  34. Quittner, Josh (May 1, 1995). "Radio Free Cyberspace". Time.
  35. "Biking in Bloomington". City of Bloomington. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
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