West Lafayette, Indiana

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West Lafayette, Indiana

Introduction to West Lafayette, Indiana

The city of West Lafayette is located in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, roughly 65 miles northwest of the state capital of Indianapolis. It is separated from its neighboring city of Lafayette by the Wabash River. The city is the proud home of Purdue University, which was established in 1869. The nearby town of Battle Ground (located 10 miles to the northeast) was the site of the famous Battle of Tippecanoe in 1911. Highways servicing the city of West Lafayette include U.S. Routes 52 and 231, and Indiana state highways 26, 43, 443, and 526.

When it received its charter in 1867, the name of the town was Chauncey, named after a family of wealthy land speculators from Philadelphia who had purchased land in the area. In 1888, the town voted to change its name to West Lafayette. Although for several years the town lagged behind its neighbor Lafayette in development, the presence of Purdue University slowly enhanced the town's growth, and by the 1940s West Lafayette had evolved into a full-fledged suburban city. Today, the university employs 12,000 people, most of whom live in either West Lafayette or Lafayette.

Points of Interest in West Lafayette

In addition to Purdue University, West Lafayette is home to a wide variety of historical, cultural, and recreational sites. In particular, the community is proud of its civic theater, symphony orchestra, Bach Chorale, and museums. Other notable attractions in or near the city include the following:

  • Fort Ouiatenon: An historical park which is the site for the annual Feast of the Hunter's Moon.
  • Historic Five Points Fire Station Museum: A fire station restored to its circa-1937 heyday.
  • Riverside Skating Center: Open year-round for ice, inline and roller skating.
  • Moses Fowler House: An English Gothic style home built in the mid-19th century by cattle baron Moses Fowler.
  • Red Crown Mini Museum: A unique Standard Oil service station built in 1928.
  • Tippecanoe Battlefield & Museum: Located at the site of The Battle of Tippecanoe.
  • Wabash & Erie Canal Interpretive Center: An interactive museum which describes the building of the Canal and its effect on Indiana.
  • Imagination Station: A hands-on family science center with interactive exhibits.
  • Purdue University Horticulture Gardens
  • Tippecanoe County Courthouse
  • Columbian Park and Zoo
  • Great Skates Fun Center and Laser Tag
  • Silent Thunder Indoor Go-Kart and Amusement Center
  • Tropicanoe Cove Family Aquatic Center
  • Wolf Park

West Lafayette is a big college sports town, due to the presence of the Purdue University Boilermakers athletic teams. Members of the Big Ten Conference since 1896, the Boilermaker football squad has claimed seven Conference Championships, and two of their teams have earned berths in the Rose Bowl. Altogether, 18 varsity teams compete in a variety of Purdue sports with many of the teams nationally ranked.

The city of Indianapolis is located about an hour away, and is home to some notable professional sports teams. Major league action is available to basketball fans and football fans, who can enjoy the NBA's Indiana Pacers and the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, respectively. Fans of women's pro basketball can see the WNBA's Indiana Fever. Minor league action can be found in the sports of baseball and hockey. The Indianapolis Indians are a Minor League Baseball Class-AAA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Indiana Ice is a local entry in the United States Hockey League. Last but not least, auto racing fans can look forward to Memorial Day weekend, when racing's crown jewel, the Indianapolis 500, takes place in Speedway, Indiana (located just outside the Indianapolis city limits).

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High Points

West Lafayette strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Indiana):

Category Trophy
College Educated Adults
(vs. Peers)
Top 1% trophy West Lafayette College Educated Adults
Short Commute Times
(vs. Peers)
Top 2% trophy West Lafayette Short Commute Times
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 2% trophy West Lafayette Walking and Biking to Work
Median Family Income
(vs. State)
Top 3% trophy West Lafayette Median Family Income
Racial Diversity
(vs. State)
Top 3% trophy West Lafayette Racial Diversity
Public Transportation Use
(vs. State)
Top 6% West Lafayette Public Transportation Use
Low Violent Crime
(vs. Peers)
Top 8% West Lafayette Low Violent Crime
Low Property Crime
(vs. Peers)
Top 10% West Lafayette Low Property Crime

Comparative Profile of West Lafayette, Indiana

Comparing West Lafayette to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Indiana (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Male Share of the Population 10 10
Racial Diversity 5 10
Well-Paid Single Men 4 6
Senior Citizens 2 1
Age of the Population 1 1
Female Share of the Population 1 1
Children Under 5 Years Old 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Average Household Size 2 1
Portion of People Married 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 10 10
Median Family Income 9 10
People in Middle Class or Better 1 1
People Above Poverty 1 1

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Walking and Biking to Work 10 10
Short Commute Times 10 10
Working at Home 6 7
Public Transportation Use 6 10


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 10 10
People Living Alone 9 9
Housing Recently Built 7 10
Affordability of Rents 6 2
Affordability of Property Taxes 5 1
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 3 3


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Low Violent Crime 10 8
Low Property Crime 10 9

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West Lafayette Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 1 miles W of Lafayette, Indiana (center to center)
Nearest Large City 60 miles NW of Indianapolis, Indiana
County Tippecanoe
Metro Area Lafayette
Standard Zip Codes 47906, 47907
P.O. Box Zip Codes 47996
Phone Area Codes 765
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.425
Longitude -86.908

West Lafayette Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 1.5 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 33 F
Apr Temp 40 to 62 F
Jul Temp 65 to 86 F
Oct Temp 43 to 66 F
Annual Precip 36.3 inches
Distance 5.6 miles
Jan Temp 15 to 32 F
Apr Temp 39 to 61 F
Jul Temp 63 to 85 F
Oct Temp 42 to 65 F
Annual Precip 37.2 inches
Distance 8.7 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 32 F
Apr Temp 39 to 61 F
Jul Temp 62 to 85 F
Oct Temp 41 to 65 F
Annual Precip 36.9 inches
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West Lafayette Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 28,778 100%
Male 16,455 57.2%
Female 12,323 42.8%
Under 18 2,999 10.4%
18+ 25,779 89.6%
65+ 2,227 7.7%
Median Age 22.3
Average Family Size 2.89
White 23,985 83.3%
African-American 684 2.4%
Asian 3,263 11.3%
American Indian & Alaskan 45 0.2%
Other 336 1.2%
Mixed Race 456 1.6%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 920 3.2%

Estimated West Lafayette Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 28,599
Growth -179
Growth % -0.6%

West Lafayette Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
German 25%
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 19.4%
English 9.7%
Irish 9%
Polish 5.2%
US/American 4.9%
Italian 3.9%
Scottish 2.1%
French (except Basque) 2%
Dutch 1.8%
European 1.6%
Swedish 1.6%
Norwegian 1.1%
Scotch-Irish 1.1%
British 0.8%
Russian 0.7%
Hungarian 0.7%
Czech 0.6%
Swiss 0.6%
Greek 0.5%
Welsh 0.5%
Danish 0.4%
French Canadian 0.4%
African 0.4%
Lithuanian 0.4%
Slovak 0.4%
Palestinian 0.3%
Northern European 0.3%
Finnish 0.3%
Egyptian 0.3%
Ukrainian 0.3%
Iranian 0.2%
Romanian 0.2%
Czechoslovakian 0.2%
Austrian 0.2%
Slavic 0.2%
Serbian 0.2%
Arab/Arabic 0.2%
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Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, West Lafayette, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

La Fayette (47906, 47907)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
West Lafayette 28,778 $71,510
Battle Ground 1,323 $60,125
Brookston 1,717 $47,011
Dayton 1,120 $48,021
Lafayette 56,397 $45,480
Mulberry 1,387 $51,591
Otterbein 1,312 $45,341

West Lafayette Public Libraries

West Lafayette Pl
West Lafayette, Indiana
(765) 743-2261
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

Starbucks in West Lafayette

(As of 2005)
1032 Sagamore Parkway W
Purdue U - Memorial Union/Oasis
101 N. Grant St.
Sagamore & Salisbury
545 Sagamore Parkway
Wabash Landing
342 E. State Street

Wal-mart in West Lafayette

(As of 2006)
2801 Northwestern Ave
(765) 463-0201
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West Lafayette High Schools (2004)

(Sorted by Number of Students)

5701 N 50 W
Serves 1,468 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.2

Serves 1,037 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.2

West Lafayette Colleges

Click school name for a detailed profile.

Purdue University-Main Campus

(List of Indiana Colleges)

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Limit Results to One State?

City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Blacksburg, Virginia 91.2   26.8% 4.9% 64.2% 15 $51,810 2.9% 15.6% 39,573 43.2% 15.3 0.4% 1.4
2. Whitewater, Wisconsin 88.1   32.6% 8.9% 31.8% 19 $48,185 3.2% 7.8% 13,437 27.4% 20.9 0.2% 1.5
3. Brockport, New York 83.7   28.2% 7.7% 36.5% 19 $50,828 3.2% 8.2% 8,103 19.2% 20.2 0.4% 2.3
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