In the early 19th century Indiana was almost entirely covered with the deciduous hardwood forests common to the eastern United States.
The nonforested portion of the state, primarily in the northwestern corner, consisted of grasslands—an extension into Indiana of the central Great Plains.
Many of Indiana’s people take pride in a self-image derived largely from 19th-century America that values hard work, is oriented to the small town and medium-sized city, and is interested in maintaining the prerogatives of local self-determination.
It is not by coincidence that the Indianan’s nickname, Hoosier, remains a symbol in the country’s lore for a kind of homespun wisdom, wit, and folksiness that harks back to what is popularly regarded as a less-hurried and less-complicated period of history.
Several species of ferns also are found in the state’s woodlands.
In July, temperatures in both the north and the south normally drop into the mid-60s F (about 17 °C) and rise into the mid- to upper 80s F (28–32 °C) daily.
Thus, Indiana’s population is to some extent black and Hispanic in the urban north and mostly white in the less industrialized south.
Though generally considered a conservative and Republican stronghold, Indiana has voted into both state and national office nearly as many Democrats as Republicans. Population (2010) 6,483,802; (2017 est.) 6,666,818. Indiana forms part of the east-central lowlands that slope downward from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River.
Steady growth of agriculture, urban areas, and industry and the consequent pollution have taken a toll on natural life, however.
Pollution of both air and water has been particularly severe near the industrial areas along the southern tip of Lake Michigan.