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 2010 census, the city had a total of 101,168 residents; its metropolitan statistical area had a population of 318,586 and its combined statistical area, 721,296. It is the fourth-largest city in Indiana, serving as the economic and cultural hub of northern Indiana. The area was originally 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 had a peak population of 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 include Crowe, Honeywell, and AM General. Recently, the city population has begun to grow for the first time in nearly fifty years. The old Studebaker plant and surrounding area, now called Ignition Park, is being redeveloped as a technology center to attract new industry.
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