Whitley County, Indiana

Whitley County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2000, the population was 30,707. The county seat is Columbia City.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 338 square miles (875 km²), of which 336 square miles (869 km²) is land and 2 square miles (6 km²) (0.70%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Cities and towns

Unincorporated towns

  • Peabody
  • Raber
  • Tri-Lakes
  • Tunker
  • Townships

  • Smith
  • Thorncreek
  • Union
  • Washington
  • Major highways

  • Indiana State Road 14
  • Indiana State Road 105
  • Indiana State Road 109
  • Indiana State Road 114
  • Indiana State Road 205
  • History

    Whitley County was formed in 1838. It was named for Col. William Whitley, who was killed at the decisive American victory at the Battle of the Thames in the War of 1812.


    The county government is a constitutional body, and is granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana, and by the Indiana Code.

    County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. 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, the collection of 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 terms of four years. 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 serve terms of four years and oversee different parts of the county government. Members elected to any county government position are required to declare a party affiliation and be a resident of the county.

    Whitely County is part of Indiana's 3rd congressional district and in 2008 was represented by Mark Souder in the United States Congress.


    '''Whitley County
    Population by year

    2000 30,707
    1990 27,651
    1980 26,215
    1970 23,395
    1960 20,954
    1950 18,828
    1940 17,001
    1930 15,931
    1920 15,660
    1910 16,892
    1900 17,328
    1890 17,768
    1880 16,941
    1870 14,399
    1860 10,730
    1850 5,190
    1840 1,237

    As of the census of 2000, there were 30,707 people, 11,711 households, and 8,607 families residing in the county. The population density was 92 people per square mile (35/km²). There were 12,545 housing units at an average density of 37 per square mile (14/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.37% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. 0.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 41.7% were of German, 18.8% American, 8.1% English and 7.2% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

    There were 11,711 households out of which 34.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.30% were married couples living together, 8.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.50% were non-families. 22.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.03.

    In the county the population was spread out with 26.70% under the age of 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 23.20% from 45 to 64, and 13.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 98.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.00 males.

    The median income for a household in the county was $45,503, and the median income for a family was $52,872. Males had a median income of $37,325 versus $23,420 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,519. About 3.30% of families and 4.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.30% of those under age 18 and 6.20% of those age 65 or over.


    • Forstall, Richard L. (editor) (1996). Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 : from the twenty-one decennial censuses. United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Population Division. ISBN 0-934213-48-8.

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