I was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana. It is in the part of Indiana “affectionately” referred to as “Da Region.” East Chicago (E.C.) was incorporated in 1893. During the Industrial Revolution, E.C. was known as the most industrialized municipality and home to more than 70 nationalities, each with its own ethnic based church, neighborhoods, and stores (Source). At this time, 4 out of 5 of citizens were foreign-born (Source).
East Chicago now boasts a population of about 30,000 people. Although the population shrunk after the downturn in the steel industry, ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor Works, the largest steel mill in the USA still operates in E.C. Currently, the city boasts newly remodeled or totally new elementary schools in nearly every neighborhood, two junior high schools, and the outstanding Central High School. The city also has two full service libraries and more than twenty parks featuring everything from a nine hole golf course to two water parks (Source).
From the 2010 Census, the racial makeup of the city was 35.5% White, 42.9% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 18.1% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 50.9% of the population. The median age in the city was 30.9 years. 31.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.4% were from 25 to 44; 22.2% were from 45 to 64; and 11.3% were 65 years of age or older. The majority of the population (53.2%) is female.
Bloomington, while still not a large town, boasts a population of about 80, 405 folks. It is also the home of Indiana University. Bloomington was established in 1818. Unlike E.C., it has a diverse business community that excels in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, technology, health care, and the arts.
For more information on East Chicago, please see http://www.eastchicago.com. More information on Bloomington can be found at iub.edu.