Northwest Indiana by the numbers

Northwest Indiana is a 7-county region comprised of global, national and regional businesses that represent more than $40 billion in commerce. 
Northwest Indiana offers the best of both worlds: Access to Chicago along with Indiana’s stellar business climate. From small rural towns to growing suburbs to industrial cities, Northwest Indiana offers an environment conducive to any business.

  • Population (2014): 852,420
  • 2020 Projection: 886,278
    Source: U.S. Census Bureau
  • Total Resident Labor Force, 2014: 403,575
  • The work distribution of total employees in Northwest Indiana:
    • 61% Blue Collar
    • 38% White Collar
  • June 2015 NWI Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (Indiana: 4.8%, U.S.: 5.5%)
    Sources: STATS Indiana, using data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development; Applied Geographic Solutions

Geography and Infrastructure

  • Boasting 4 U.S. interstates and several U.S. highways, about 80% of the U.S. population within a day’s drive. Trucking accounts for more than half of all inbound and outbound shipments.
  • The region is on the right side of Chicago and its $571 billion GDP
  • Three Class I railroads – CSX, CN and Norfolk Southern -- along with short line and regional carriers, are in Northwest Indiana. The region has access to other Class I railroads through the Chicago network.
  • The deep-water international Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan offers multi-modal connections to an extensive ground transportation network.
  • Gary/Chicago International Airport recently completed a $174.1 million runway expansion to lengthened the main runway to 8,900 feet, allowing it to handle larger planes.
  • Porter County Regional Airport has a runway larger than that of Midway Airport, and is located outside the Chicago Class B air space, which allows for easy arrival and departures.
  • Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports are within an hour’s drive to Northwest Indiana, offering more access.

Drives Times

Northwest Indiana is within a day’s drive of 80% of the U.S. population.

Distance from Northwest Indiana to major cities:

  • Chicago 25 miles/45 minutes
  • Indianapolis 138 miles/2.5 hours
  • Milwaukee 139 miles/3.25 hours
  • Detroit 257 miles/4 hours
  • Cincinnati 257 miles/4.25 hours
  • Louisville 259 miles/4.25 hours
  • Toronto 488 miles/7.5 hours
  • New York 765 miles/11.75 hours
  • Cleveland 321 miles/4.75 hours
  • Columbus 287 miles/5 hours
  • Pittsburgh 437 miles/6.5 hours
  • St. Louis 308 miles/4.75 hours
  • Nashville 433 miles/6.75 hours
  • Des Moines 355 miles/5.5 hours

Per Capita Personal Income, 2013

  • Northwest Indiana PCPI: $39,117
  • U.S. PCPI: $44,543
  • Indiana PCPI: $38,622
  • Chicago PCPI: $49,071
    Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Income and Spending
Northwest Indiana Household Income: $49,911

  • 5% more than the state average
  • 9% less than the national average
    Source: Applied Geographical Solutions, 2015

Northwest Indiana offers the convenience of Chicago at a much lower cost:

  • Considerable cost advantage when compared to Chicago and Illinois suburbs
  • Real estate savings up to 20%
  • Lower cost of living compared to the rest of the area.
  • Lower cost of labor (up to 6%) including workers compensation and unemployment insurance
  • Energy cost savings of up to 13%

Quality of Life

  • With a thriving population and minutes away from Chicago, Northwest Indiana offers low-cost, high quality living.
  • The proximity of Chicago also offers its art and cultural institutions, world-class entertainment and dining.
  • The area boast a variety of living options – from urban living and suburbs to small towns and rural communities
  • Northwest Indiana is home to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park and the Indiana Dunes State Park – both offering trails, camping and beaches along Lake Michigan


Annual Employment by Private Industry

  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities: 21.42%
  • Education and Health Services: 16.50%
  • Government: 13.87&
  • Manufacturing: 13.59%
  • Leisure and Hospitality: 12.41%
  • Professional and Business Services: 8.27%
  • Construction, Natural Resources and Mining: 5.39%
  • Other Services: 4.77%
  • Financial Activities: 3.07%
  • Information: 0.71%
  • Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Industry Clusters of Northwest Indiana

  • Primary Metal Manufacturing
  • Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
  • Rail Transportation
  • Pipeline Transportation
  • Truck Transportation
  • Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries;
  • Utilities

Educational Attainment


Enrollment at Northwest Indiana College and Universities

  • Ancilla College: 533 
  • Calumet College of St. Joseph: 1,262
  • St. Joseph’s College: 5,837
  • Indiana University Northwest: 6,387
  • Ivy Tech Community College: 8,634
  • Purdue University Calumet: 9,807
  • Purdue University North Central: 5,279
  • Valparaiso University: 4,508
  • Proximity to Notre Dame and Purdue Lafayette campuses


Northwest Indiana has a business-friendly infrastructure. Money saved on water, electricity, natural gas, as well as fiber access serves as an incentive for many businesses based in Northwest Indiana home.

  • The ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel mills, ancillary steel companies, BP Whiting, railroad companies, trucking companies, casinos, and NIPSCO are well known staples of the economy, employing thousands of workers across the seven county region.
  • Northwest Indiana’s most important occupation clusters are Rail Transportation Workers; Metal Workers and Plastic Workers; Plant and System Operators; and Entertainment Attendants and Related Workers.
    Source: State of the Workforce Report, Northwest Indiana 2014

Northwest Indiana’s electricity rates are highly competitive, falling well below both national and Midwest averages. The region is primarily served by Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), a large regional utility company serving northern Indiana.

Fresh water
Northwest Indiana is home to about 15,000 acres of coastline along Lake Michigan.
Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor on Lake offers more transportation capabilities.
Adequate water resources for manufacturing and commercial purposes.

Northwest Indiana has a plentiful water supply that supports our large number of industrial businesses and can cater to the specific needs of the food-processing and beverage industry. The region’s largest water utility provider, Indiana American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to more than 1.2 million people.

Natural Gas
Northwest Indiana is served by the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO). Offering dependable and reliable services, this provider serves large portions of Indiana, offering highly competitive rates, and can easily meet the demands of new industry.