Tippecanoe County courthouse in Lafayette, Indiana
Location within the U.S. state of Indiana
Indiana's location within the U.S.
|Founded||March 1, 1826|
|Named for||Kethtippecanoogi ("Place of the Succor Fish People" in Miami)|
|o Total||503.24 sq mi (1,303.4 km2)|
|o Land||499.81 sq mi (1,294.5 km2)|
|o Water||3.44 sq mi (8.9 km2) 0.68%%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||381/sq mi (147/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Indiana county number 79|
Tippecanoe County is located in the west central portion of the U.S. state of Indiana about 22 miles east of the Illinois state line. As of the 2010 census, the population was 172,780. The county seat and largest city is Lafayette. It was created in 1826 from Wabash County portion of New Purchase and unorganized territory.
Tippecanoe County was formed March 1, 1826, and named for the anglicization of "Kethtippecanoogi", a Miami people term meaning "place of the succor fish people." (Kriebel, Robert C. - Tippecanoe at 2000: A Hoosier County Recalls Its Past). The county is best known for Purdue University, the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe, and the Tippecanoe County Courthouse, a structure built in 1881 and included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Tippecanoe County is part of the Lafayette, Indiana, Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The history of Tippecanoe County spans six distinct political and cultural periods: Native American lands from at least 8000BC, including the Mississippian culture, French occupation (part of New France beginning in the 1670s), British occupation starting in 1763, part of the United States Northwest Territory in 1787, part of Indiana Territory in 1800, and finally part of the State of Indiana in 1816. The political organization of the county began in 1826 by act of the Indiana Legislature.
The first European explorers arrived in the 1670s and the first permanent settlement was Fort Ouiatenon by the French established in 1717. Lafayette was platted in 1825 and Purdue University founded in 1869.
According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 503.24 square miles (1,303.4 km2), of which 499.81 square miles (1,294.5 km2) (or 99.32%) is land and 3.44 square miles (8.9 km2) (or 0.68%) is water. The county's highest point is in the Lauramie Township.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, temperatures in Lafayette have ranged from an average low of 17 °F (-8 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of -23 °F (-31 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.58 inches (40 mm) inches in February to 4.24 inches (108 mm) inches in June.
Three different railroad lines intersect in Tippecanoe County, all running through the Lafayette area. CSX Transportation operates a north-south line; Norfolk Southern Railway operates a southwest-to-northeast line, and the Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern Railroad operates a daily-service line running from the northwest to the southeast.
County Council: The county council is the fiscal branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. The county council and the board of commissioners share legislative authority. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.
Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.
Court: The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is also elected to a four-year term. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.
County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and to be residents of the county.
In the 2008 Democratic primary, Tippecanoe County was one of 10 (out of 92) Indiana counties to give the majority of its votes to Barack Obama. In the 2008 Presidential election, Tippecanoe County was one of 15 Indiana counties to give the majority of its votes to Obama/Biden. Thanks to the sizable support of Purdue University students, Tippecanoe County played a pivotal role in Barack Obama's upset win in Indiana (49.9%-49.0%; 1,367,264 votes to 1,341,101 votes) by supporting the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama/Joe Biden 55.1%-43.5% over the Republican ticket of John McCain/Sarah Palin. However, in the 2020 Presidential election, Tippecanoe County also voted for Democrat Joe Biden by a margin of 436 votes, the first time since 2008 the county went for the Democrats.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 172,780 people, 65,532 households, and 37,003 families residing in the county. The population density was 345.7 inhabitants per square mile (133.5/km2). There were 71,096 housing units at an average density of 142.2 per square mile (54.9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 84.0% white, 6.2% Asian, 4.0% black or African American, 0.3% American Indian, 3.3% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 7.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 27.5% were German, 13.9% were Irish, 10.8% were English, and 6.1% were American.
Of the 65,532 households, 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 43.5% were non-families, and 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.02. The median age was 27.7 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $60,367. Males had a median income of $45,018 versus $31,995 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,203. About 10.3% of families and 20.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.
Public schools in rural/suburban Tippecanoe County are administered by the Tippecanoe School Corporation, while those in the cities are under either the Lafayette School Corporation or West Lafayette Community School Corporation. Purdue and Ivy Tech each have campuses at other sites in Indiana.
Universities and colleges
Middle Schools/Junior High Schools
Much of the economy of Tippecanoe County is centered in its two largest communities: Lafayette and West Lafayette. Purdue University is by far the largest employer in the county, but private industry and commerce independent of the university also employ many others. Major employers include Subaru-Indiana Automotive, Wabash National, Caterpillar, Fairfield Manufacturing, Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health, Alcoa, State Farm, and IUHealth Arnett.