The County has a total area of 834 square miles. Most of the County’s land area drains west of the Eastern Continental Divide toward the Ohio River basin, while the northeastern corner of the County drains east toward the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.
The County is the geographical center of western Pennsylvania and forms the northeastern boundary of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) region. SPC is the official Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for regional collaboration, planning, and public decision-making for the Pittsburgh region.
Indiana County is composed of 38 independent municipalities, including 14 boroughs and 24 townships. In 2010 the County had a population of 89,605 and a population density of 108 people per square mile.
The history of the County is closely linked to the production, processing, and transportation of its abundant natural resources. In addition to being an agricultural county, vast resources of salt, coal, natural gas and timber contributed to the development and prosperity of the local economy. As part of the nationwide economic transition from manufacturing to a service economy, the County has capitalized on its higher education resources and has seen employment growth in the education sector.
Historically, development has occurred primarily in Indiana Borough, the County seat, and surrounding areas of White Township. More recently, development has occurred along US 119 south of Indiana Borough to the intersection of US 22 in Burrell Township.
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Early Community Patterns
Indiana County is a place rich in architectural resources and unique historic communities. By the early 1900s, the pace and scale of coal mining dominated the County. This activity spurred a building boom that resulted in the development of many coal towns and villages that remain a distinctive element of the region’s landscape today.
Traditional downtowns, interspersed with farms and villages, evolved when development was compact and high-density. Buildings were close together and people could walk to places of work, school, worship, shopping, and other services. This historic development pattern created a sense of connectedness and fostered the formation of social networks that added to the strength of the County's communities.
Historically, downtowns have been centers for government, business, shopping, and cultural and spiritual activities. Post-World War II development patterns have been dominated by the automobile, thus contributing to the decentralization of our downtowns and spurring population and housing growth in outlying townships.
Current Community Snapshot
Urban landscapes exist side by side with rural communities throughout the region.
The presence of farming communities creates a rural landscape composed of farm fields, covered bridges, and horse-drawn buggies. In Smicksburg and other rural areas of the County, the Amish still practice their traditional lifestyles.
Our urban landscapes include traditional downtowns, a growing number of suburban housing developments, innovative high-skilled and high-technology industries, retail and commercial developments, and educational campuses such as WyoTech and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).
Nearly 1,200 students are studying the latest automotive technology at WyoTech’s Blairsville Campus. Over 15,000 students study a variety of disciplines at IUP, the largest institution in the State System of Higher Education.
Access to the County includes US Route 119 providing north-south access, and US Routes 22 and 422 serving as major east-west corridors. Numerous other state and local routes traverse the countryside providing access to all points of the County.
In addition to highways, other transportation features include an airport, a rail system, and an increasing number of bicycle and pedestrian trails.
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Key County Facts
•Total Number of Municipalities: 38
•County Seat: Indiana
•Land Area (sq. mi.): 829
•Water Area (sq. mi.): 5
•2010 Population: 88,880
•2010 Population Density: 106.6 people per square mile
•2008 Birth Rate per 1000: 10.1
•2008 Death Rate per 1000: 9.8
Source: Indiana County Office of Planning and Development
Our Partners in the Region
We work in partnership with a number of regional groups to improve the economy and quality of life in our counties and in our region as a whole. For more on what we're doing as a region, visit some of our partner organizations, listed below.
The Allegheny Conference on Community Development: a nonprofit, private-sector leadership organization dedicated to economic development and quality of life issues for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States.
The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance: the marketing affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. The PRA markets the benefits of conducting business in southwestern Pennsylvania to companies all over the world that are growing, relocating or expanding.
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission: the regional planning agency serving the Pittsburgh 10-county area and providing essential services to the region.
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