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Monroe County
Monroe County courthouse in Bloomington, Indiana
Monroe County courthouse in Bloomington, Indiana
Official seal of Monroe County
Map of Indiana highlighting Monroe County
Location within the U.S. state of Indiana
Map of the United States highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Indiana
Founded 14 January 1818
Named for James Monroe
Seat Bloomington
Largest city Bloomington
 • Total 411.32 sq mi (1,065.3 km2)
 • Land 394.51 sq mi (1,021.8 km2)
 • Water 16.81 sq mi (43.5 km2)  4.09%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 372.4/sq mi (143.8/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 9th
Indiana county number 53

Monroe County is a county in the U.S. state of Indiana. In 1910 the US Census Bureau calculated the nation's mean population center to lie in Monroe County. The population was 137,974 at the 2010 United States Census. The county seat is Bloomington. Monroe County is part of the Bloomington, Indiana, Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Monroe County was formed in 1818 from portions of Orange County. It was named for James Monroe, fifth President of the United States, who was serving at the time the county was organized.


According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 411.32 square miles (1,065.3 km2), of which 394.51 square miles (1,021.8 km2) (or 95.91%) is land and 16.81 square miles (43.5 km2) (or 4.09%) is water.

Bodies of water

Griffy Lake - dam drain - DSCF4386
Griffy Lake, seen from its dam

Monroe County is divided between the basins of the East Fork and West Fork of Indiana's White River. The southern part of the county drains to the East Fork, primarily via Salt Creek and its tributaries, such as Clear Creek (known as "Jordan River" on Indiana University Bloomington campus). The northern part drains to the West Fork.

Several artificial reservoirs have been constructed by damming the county's creeks. The largest of them is Lake Monroe, a large reservoir on the Salt Creek in the south-eastern part of the county, is used both for recreational purposes and to supply the city with drinking water. Until the late 1960s, the main source of water supply was the smaller Lake Lemon (constructed 1953), in the northeastern part of the county; now it's the backup water source, and is mainly used for recreation.

The third in order of size is Griffy Lake, on the northern slope of the county. Constructed in 1924 by damming Griffy Creek, it was Bloomington's main water source until 1954; now it is now primarily used recreationally, although there are arrangements for it to be used as an emergency water source as well. An even smaller Weimer (Wapehani) Lake in the Clear Creek basin was originally constructed for water supply purposes as well, but now is used purely for recreation (fishing).

A number of former limestone quarries in the county are now naturally filled with water, as featured in the 1979 film Breaking Away.

National protected areas

Leonard Springs Reservoir - seen from the dam - DSCF7386
The defunct Leonard Springs Reservoir, now taken over by beavers
  • Hoosier National Forest (part)

Natural wonders

  • Buckner Cave
  • Leonard Springs Nature Park, where the waters of Sinking Creek reappears in springs




Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places


  • Bean Blossom
  • Benton
  • Bloomington
  • Clear Creek
  • Indian Creek
  • Perry
  • Polk
  • Richland
  • Salt Creek
  • Van Buren
  • Washington

Climate and weather

Weather chart for Bloomington, Indiana
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: The Weather Channel

In recent years, average temperatures in Bloomington have ranged from a low of 19 °F (−7 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −21 °F (−29 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 110 °F (43 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.66 inches (68 mm) in January to 5.12 inches (130 mm) in May.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 2,679
1830 6,577 145.5%
1840 10,143 54.2%
1850 11,286 11.3%
1860 12,847 13.8%
1870 14,168 10.3%
1880 15,875 12.0%
1890 17,673 11.3%
1900 20,873 18.1%
1910 23,426 12.2%
1920 24,519 4.7%
1930 35,974 46.7%
1940 36,534 1.6%
1950 50,080 37.1%
1960 59,225 18.3%
1970 84,849 43.3%
1980 98,785 16.4%
1990 108,978 10.3%
2000 120,563 10.6%
2010 137,974 14.4%
2020 139,718 1.3%
US Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 137,974 people, 54,864 households, and 27,315 families in the county. The population density was 349.7 inhabitants per square mile (135.0/km2). There were 59,107 housing units at an average density of 149.8 per square mile (57.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 87.8% white, 5.2% Asian, 3.3% black or African American, 0.3% American Indian, 1.0% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 24.8% were German, 13.5% were Irish, 11.8% were English, and 8.1% were American.

Of the 54,864 households, 22.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.2% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 50.2% were non-families, and 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.86. 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 $60,845. Males had a median income of $43,439 versus $33,547 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,882. About 10.6% of families and 25.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.


Major highways

  • I-69
  • Indiana 37.svg Indiana State Road 37
  • Indiana 45.svg Indiana State Road 45
  • Indiana 46.svg Indiana State Road 46
  • Indiana 48.svg Indiana State Road 48
  • Indiana 446.svg Indiana State Road 446

For many years Monroe County was one of the most populous counties in the USA which did not contain any US highways or Interstate highways. However, in December 2015 the I-69 extension was completed into the county and this distinction disappeared. The highway was further extended north into Morgan County in 2018.


Monroe County - Victor Pike - abandoned railway - trestle - P1120786
A trestle on an abandoned railway line (the former Monon Railway mainline) in Perry Township

Although Monroe County has a rich railway history, currently its only railway is the Indiana Rail Road, whose mainline crosses the county from the north-east to the south-west, with branches to a few industrial facilities. There is no passenger service.

Between 1854 and 2004, an important north–south line connecting the Ohio River with Lake Michigan crossed Monroe County as well, serving Stinesville, Elletsville, Bloomington, Smithville, and Harrodsburg. It was operated by the Monon Railroad throughout much of the 20th century, and later by CSX. The last passenger service operating on this line was Amtrak's Floridian Chicago-Miami service, during 1972–1979. With the termination of this service in 1979, Monroe County lost passenger railway service. CSX continued to use this line for freight for another quarter of a century, but in 2004, it stopped using this line. Large parts of it have since been converted to trails.

Air transport

  • Monroe County Airport, southwest of Bloomington. Scheduled passenger service to this airport was terminated ca. 1997, and since then the airport has been used by general aviation only.


Monroe County Public Library operates branches at Bloomington and Ellettsville.

Monroe County is home to Indiana University Bloomington.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Monroe (Indiana) para niños

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