Introduction to Rensselaer, Indiana

Rensselaer, Indiana, in Jasper county, is 38 miles NW of Lafayette, Indiana (center to center) and 69 miles SE of Chicago, Illinois.

Introduction to Rensselaer, Indiana

Rensselaer, Indiana, in Jasper county, is 38 miles NW of Lafayette, Indiana and 69 miles SE of Chicago, Illinois. There are an estimated 5,294 people in the city.

Rensselaer History

Rensselaer was originally known as Newton and was platted on June 12, 1839. It was renamed Rensselaer in 1844 in honor of James Van Rensselaer, a merchant from Utica, New York. After his business failed during the Panic of 1837, he moved to the area. Rensselaer is the county seat of Jasper County, and was incorporated on December 8, 1858. In 1888, the St. Joseph's Indian Normal School was founded by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions.

Rensselaer and nearby Attractions

  • Carroll County Historical Society Museum
  • Winamac State Fish and Wildlife Area
  • Matteson Historical Museum
  • Tippecanoe Battlefield
  • Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park
  • Balmoral Race Track

Things To Do In Rensselaer

Lemon Lake County Park, Willow Slough State Game Preserve, the Kingsbury State Fish and Wildlife Area, the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, and the Buckley Homestead County Park are some popular local parks and recreational areas. The Tippecanoe Battlefield was the site of a battle between Tecumseh and Harrison in 1811. In addition, the city celebrates a number of festivals throughout the year, including the Little Cousin Jasper Festival, the Jasper County Fair and OktoberFest Rensselaer.

Rensselaer Transportation

Chicago Midway is the closest major airport.

Rensselaer Higher Education

Saint Joseph's College is located in Rensselaer. Other nearby colleges include Valparaiso University, Ivy Tech State College-Northwest and Prairie State College.


Total Population 5,495
Male Share of the Population 45.9%
Female Share of the Population 54.1%
Senior Citizens 17.1%
Employed Population 16+ 2,718
Age of the Population 42


% of people married 50.7%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 16.3%
Median Earnings25+ $31,013
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $15,871
Median Earnings With High School Degree $33,227


Median Family Income $55,647
% Above Poverty Level 83.1%
% Below Poverty Level 16.9%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 16 minutes
% Working from Home 1.3%
% Walking and Biking to Work 3.3%
% Using Public Transportation 0.4%


People Living Alone 32.4%
Median Gross Rent $647
Median House Value $111,300


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 20.6%
US/American 0.2%
English 7%
Irish 16.9%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Rensselaer Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 38 miles NW of Lafayette, Indiana (center to center)
Nearest Large City 69 miles SE of Chicago, Illinois
County Jasper
Standard Zip Codes 47978
Phone Area Codes 219
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.936
Longitude -87.15

Rensselaer Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 0.2 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 30 F
Apr Temp 39 to 60 F
Jul Temp 64 to 85 F
Oct Temp 41 to 64 F
Annual Precip 38.3 inches
Distance 18.9 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 31 F
Apr Temp 38 to 61 F
Jul Temp 63 to 85 F
Oct Temp 41 to 65 F
Annual Precip 37.4 inches
Station LOWELL
Distance 26.7 miles
Jan Temp 12 to 30 F
Apr Temp 37 to 60 F
Jul Temp 62 to 84 F
Oct Temp 39 to 64 F
Annual Precip 40 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Brook 1,012 $53,472
Francesville 867 $50,000
Goodland 1,003 $56,250
Mount Ayr 116 $53,125
Remington 1,165 $49,479

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Rensselaer Public Libraries

Jasper County Pl
Rensselaer, Indiana
(219) 866-5881
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

Rensselaer Hospitals

(Government - Local)
(219) 866-5141
Emergency Service: Yes

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Rensselaer High Schools

Serves 554 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.6

Rensselaer Colleges

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