Merrillville, Indiana, City Facts and Higher Education Info

Merrillville, Indiana, is a town in the northwestern part of the state. The area is home to a few colleges and schools offering undergraduate and graduate programs. Find out about Merrillville's population, employment and schools below.

Information about Merrillville, Indiana

Merrillville is located in Lake County, Indiana, about 40 miles from downtown Chicago and 133 miles from Indianapolis. The town is home to approximately 36,000 residents, according to 2014 U.S. census estimates. It is considered to be a part of the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Merrillville had a median household income of $49,711 per year as of 2010-2014 census data, which was slightly higher than Indiana's overall median household income of $48,737. At nearly 45% of the population, African-Americans maintain a much larger presence here than in the state as a whole, while those identifying as Hispanic or Latino make up 12.9% of residents.

The town has a waterpark, ballet theater, comedy club and concert venue, in addition to numerous shops and restaurants. A history museum and planetarium are also found here.

The town's location in the Chicago metropolitan area puts it within driving distance of such attractions as the Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Sears Tower and the collection of entertainment offerings on Navy Pier. Lake Michigan's shore is less than ten miles to the north of the town and features the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a popular destination for beachgoers and tourists.

Higher Education

Nearby Gary hosts the northwest campuses of Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College. Indiana University has undergraduate and master's degree programs for about 6,100 students. Purdue University, Indiana's well-regarded public university system, maintains a campus in nearby Hammond.

Other nearby schools include Prairie State College, Valparaiso University and South Suburban College. Valparaiso was ranked 5th among regional universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

Governors State University is located less than 20 miles away in University Park, Illinois, and Chicago is home to the University of Chicago. The University of Chicago is consistently ranked among the best private research universities in the nation.

Economy and Employment

Major employers in the Merrillville area include Methodist Hospital, NiSource, and Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza. Per 2012 census data estimates, health care and social assistance employed about 4,300 people. Retail trade had about 3,500 jobs, while accommodation and food services had approximately 3,000 jobs.

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