South Bend is a city in and the county seat of St. Joseph County, Indiana, on the St. Joseph River near its southernmost bend, from which it derives its name. As of the 2020 census, the city had a total of 103,453 residents and is the fourth-largest city in Indiana. The metropolitan area had a population of 324,501 in 2020, while its combined statistical area had 812,199. The city is located just south of Indiana’s border with Michigan.
The area was settled in the early 19th century by fur traders and was established as a city in 1865. The St. Joseph River shaped South Bend’s economy through the mid-20th century. River access assisted heavy industrial development such as that of the Studebaker Corporation, the Oliver Chilled Plow Company, and other large corporations.
The population of South Bend declined after 1960, when it peaked at 132,445. This was chiefly due to migration to suburban areas as well as the demise of Studebaker and other heavy industry. Today, the largest industries in South Bend are health care, education, small business, and tourism. Remaining large corporations based in the area include Crowe, Honeywell, and AM General. The city’s economy and culture are influenced by the nearby University of Notre Dame.
In the 2010s, the city’s population started to increase for the first time in nearly 50 years. The old Studebaker plant and surrounding area, now called Ignition Park, is being redeveloped as a technology center to attract new industry.
The city was featured in national news coverage of former mayor Pete Buttigieg, a candidate in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and current Secretary of Transportation in the Biden administration.