According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.3 square miles (8.5 km²), of which, 1.8 square miles (4.6 km²) of it is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km²) of it (46.34%) is water.
The Whiting post office (46394) serves not only the City of Whiting, but also the adjacent Hammond neighborhood of Robertsdale, immediately to the west. Addresses in this Hammond neighborhood show “Whiting, Indiana.” While not legally a part of the City of Whiting, locally the area has long been informally considered to be a culturally integrated part of Whiting. References to Whiting businesses or residents often include those technically from Hammond’s Robertsdale.
Largest ancestries: Slovak (18.0%), Polish (17.1%), Irish (16.3%), German (11.5%), English (5.8%), Italian (5.2%). The proportion of Whiting's population claiming Slovak ancestry is among the highest in the United States.
There were 2,091 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.3% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,972, and the median income for a family was $40,994. Males had a median income of $33,565 versus $21,981 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,518. About 10.1% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.5% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.
The nearest airport serving Whiting is Gary/Chicago International Airport.
Roby Tap was a legendary tavern within a suburb of the city that was finally torn down in 1999 to make room for an expansion of the Horseshoe Casino at the nearby marina. A popular watering hole for the workers at the nearby American Maize and Lever Brothers Soap factories as well as surrounding steel mills, it was founded in 1941. Longtime bartender Michael Smaluk and his wife his Margaret (who created the extremely popular Roby Tap Chili) ran the tavern until its eventual demolition in 1999.
Whiting is home to the fourth largest oil refinery in the nation, run by BP. This site began operating in the 1890s, and was the first refinery owned by Standard Oil of Indiana, which went on to became Amoco before it merged with BP. Recently, this BP refinery has received criticism for permits it has been granted to release 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of suspended solids (including mercury) into Lake Michigan daily. The permits were issued as BP continues to invest $3 billion to modernize the Whiting Refinery to process Canadian Crude.
Was featured in an episode of MTV's High School Stories.