Southwestern Indiana
Evansville skyline
Evansville skyline
Counties of Southwestern Indiana
Counties of Southwestern Indiana
Country United States
State Indiana
Largest cityEvansville

Southwestern Indiana is an 11-county region of southern Indiana, United States located at the southernmost and westernmost part of the state. As of the 2010 census, the region's combined population is 474,251. Evansville, Indiana's third-largest city, is the primary hub for the region, as well as the primary regional hub for a tri-state area that includes Kentucky and Illinois. Other regional hubs include Jasper, Vincennes, and Washington. Although part of a Midwestern state, this region's culture and language, like much of the rest of Southern Indiana, is aligned more with that of the Upland South rather than the Midwest.


Southwestern Indiana's topography is considerably more varied and complex than most of Indiana, from large tracts of forest, marshes, rolling fields, large flat valleys in the west and south, to several chains of low mountains, high hills, and sharp valleys towards the north and east. Every county in Southwestern Indiana is bounded by a river at one point, whether it be the Wabash River along the west, the Ohio River along the south, the White River, dividing the six northern counties between its two forks, or other smaller rivers. More than 50% of the boundaries of Daviess, Knox, Perry, Posey, and Spencer Counties are dictated by a river or a creek. Just under 50% of Gibson and Pike counties are dictated by a river. About 80% Knox County's boundaries are dictated by either the Wabash or the White River and its West Fork, essentially making the county a river peninsula. Additionally, over half of the area is located within the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone along with neighboring Southeastern Illinois.

Southwestern Indiana has clusters of separate towns of varying sizes and layouts. Vincennes is laid out in the French quadrangular, while Jasper and Princeton are laid out in a standard grid. Evansville is laid out in both modes of survey, with its downtown being mapped out from the river and the rest of the city being laid out in the standard grid.

Southwestern Indiana, like most of Southern Indiana as a whole contains several of the oldest counties in Indiana, including Knox County, the states's oldest county. In addition, four other area counties; Gibson, Perry, Posey, and Warrick, predate Indiana's statehood and the area also contains Pike County, the first county created after statehood. The youngest county, Martin, was created in January, 1820, was the state's 30th county overall of the states's 92 counties.

Organizational definition

In addition to various media definitions, Southwestern Indiana is also defined by most Indiana state agencies, as well as various commercial and economic regions, as an entire area. All of Southwestern Indiana's counties are in Indiana's 8th Congressional District as of 2013. Most of Southwestern Indiana is in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Evansville except for Perry County and Spencer County's Harrison Township, which are in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Southwestern Indiana makes up realtor region 12 in Indiana, while nine of the counties make up Economic Growth Region 11 with Daviess and Martin in Region 8.[1][2]

In addition, the southern third of Southwestern Indiana exists within the Ohio River Valley American Viticultural Area, the second-largest wine appellation in the United States. The Ohio River Valley AVA occupies all of Perry, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick Counties, nearly 90% of Gibson County, and portions of Pike and Dubois Counties in Southwestern Indiana.[3]


Establishment date
(SW Indiana) (history)



sq mi (km2)
ZIP code
% of
by water
14 Daviess February 2, 1818
(10) (29) (14)
Washington Eastern 32,906
437 sq mi (1,130 km2)
10 475 55%
19 Dubois December 20, 1817
(7) (20) (4)
Jasper Eastern 42,461
435 sq mi (1,130 km2)
12 475 24%
26 Gibson April 1, 1813
(2) (8) (T)
Princeton Central 33,775
526 sq mi (1,360 km2)
10 475/476 59%
42 Knox June 6, 1790
(1) (1) (T)
Vincennes Eastern 37,927
516 sq mi (1,340 km2)
10 475/478 84%
51 Martin January 7, 1820
(11) (33) (18)
Shoals Eastern 10,226
341 sq mi (880 km2)
6 475 18%
62 Perry November 1, 1814
(4) (12) (T)
Tell City Central 19,347
386 sq mi (1,000 km2)
7 474/475 52%
63 Pike December 21, 1816
(6) (16) (1)
Petersburg Eastern 12,594
342 sq mi (890 km2)
9 475/476 35%
65 Posey November 11, 1814
(5) (13) (T)
Mt. Vernon Central 25,512
429 sq mi (1,110 km2)
10 476 63%
74 Spencer January 10, 1818
(9) (24) (9)
Rockport Central 20,715
401 sq mi (1,040 km2)
9 475/476 73%
82 Vanderburgh January 7, 1818
(8) (22) (7)
Evansville Central 181,877
236 sq mi (610 km2)
8 476/477 26%
87 Warrick April 30, 1813
(3) (9) (T)
Boonville Central 61,897
424 sq mi (1,100 km2)
10 475/476/477 19%

(T) - Establishment Date - Indiana Territory County

Metropolitan and micropolitan areas

Metropolitan area

Name Primary city
or cities
or states
or counties
Non-area county or
counties influenced
Area 2005
Evansville, IN-KY
Metropolitan Statistical Area
IN: Gibson, Posey
Vanderburgh, Warrick
KY: Henderson, Webster
Illinois: Wabash, White
Indiana: Spencer
Kentucky: Union
2,367 sq mi
6,130 km2

Micropolitan areas

Name Primary city State
or states
or counties
Area 2005
Jasper, IN
Micropolitan Statistical Area
Jasper Indiana Dubois
776 sq mi
2010 km2
Vincennes, IN-IL
Micropolitan Statistical Area
898 sq mi
2,330 km2
Washington, IN
Micropolitan Statistical Area
Washington Indiana Daviess 437 sq mi
1,130 km2

Political status

Closeup of Southwestern Indiana: White counties are on Central Time, gray counties are on Eastern Time.
County House
US House
14 Daviess 45th 63rd 64th 39th 48th 8th
19 Dubois 63rd 73rd 74th 47th 48th 8th
26 Gibson 64th 74th 75th 48th 49th 8th
42 Knox 45th 64th 39th 48th 8th
51 Martin 62nd 63rd 48th 8th
62 Perry 73rd 74th 47th 8th
63 Pike 63rd 64th 48th 8th
65 Posey 76th 49th 8th
74 Spencer 74th 78th 47th 8th
82 Vanderburgh 75th 76th 77th 78th 49th 50th 8th
87 Warrick 75th 77th 78th 47th 50th 8th
Southwestern Indiana 45th 62nd 63rd 64th 73rd
74th 75th 76th 77th 78th
39th 47th 48th
49th 50th


The Townships of Southwestern Indiana

Interstate highways

Interstate 64

The older interstate in the region, this stretch of I-64 has been the primary artery of east-west traffic since entering service around 1983. While relatively flat in Posey, Vanderburgh, and Gibson counties, its terrain becomes hillier as it passes through the 25.5-mile (41.0 km) stretch in Warrick County. By the time it approaches U.S. 231, the hills and valleys are sharper, transitioning into the low mountainous conditions found in Perry County as the highway leaves into Crawford County.

Interstate 69

The newer interstate in the region, this stretch of I-69 provides interstate access to Bloomington and, eventually, to Indianapolis. Like I-64, the terrain around Evansville is relatively flat, but becomes hillier in northeastern Gibson County, and becomes progressively hillier through Pike County. The stretch of I-69 in Daviess County between Washington and Elnora is actually flatter than the stretch in Vanderburgh County, while containing some hilly sections south of Washington, but becomes very hilly northeast of Elnora as the highway approaches Crane and leaves the area into Greene County.

U.S. highways

U.S. Route 41
US 41 extends from Miami, Florida to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This four-lane highway serves the western half of the region. US 41 goes through the city of Evansville, becoming six lanes between the Lloyd Expressway and Diamond Avenue. It bypasses Princeton and Vincennes before continuing north towards Terre Haute.

U.S. Route 50
US 50 extends from Baltimore, Maryland, to Sacramento, California. It is a winding two-lane road in the eastern half of the region which becomes a four-lane road in the western half, near Washington, before joining US 41 in the bypass around Vincennes. It intersects with I-69 just east of Washington. It leaves Indiana on the Red Skelton Bridge.

U.S. Route 150
Coterminous with US 50 from Vincennnes to Shoals, it breaks off and heads eastward while US 50 continues northeast.

U.S. Route 231
This now mostly new four-lane road serves the eastern half of the region. The route is in a process of relocation, as a new four-lane road is under construction from Rockport to Greene County, where it will intersect with Interstate 69.


Annual festivals and celebrations

Central Time vs. Eastern Time

Main article: Time in Indiana

From 1966 to 2006, the five southwesternmost counties—Gibson, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick—observed Central Daylight Time. The six northern and eastern counties—Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, Perry, and Pike, since 1982—observed year-round Eastern Standard Time as did much of the rest of the state.

In 2006, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels pushed through legislation for all Indiana counties to observe Daylight Timeon Eastern Time onto Eastern Daylight Time. This action threw both Southwestern and Northwestern Indiana into chaos as counties started to debate whether to return to the Central Time Zone or remain in the Eastern Time Zone and start observing daylight time. This resulted, on April 2, 2006, in all of Southwestern Indiana being in the Central Time Zone.

Not even a month after the change, people began to complain about some of the same problems that people who lived in the original Central Daylight Time counties had been complaining about for years. Most prevalent was the complaint that the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center had become a "time island". The workers' union of the base subsequently petitioned the Martin County Commissioners to repetition for a change back to Eastern Time. The resulting chain reaction resulted in all of the former Eastern Time counties, along with two Central Time counties, Gibson and Spencer, petitioning for a change to Eastern Time.

On September 20, 2007, after only 15 months and only one winter on Central Time, the DOT returned only five of the eight applicants to the Eastern Time Zone. Gibson, Perry, and Spencer counties did not have enough support to be placed there. However, three of the five counties, Daviess, Knox, and Pike, had little support either, but "convenience of commerce" was given as the reason for their time changes, despite commute patterns into Evansville and the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana plant in Gibson County, the region's largest employer. In Dubois County, a heated disagreement between Huntingburg and Jasper occurred over the topic. Most of Huntingburg's industry and economy is geared towards the Central Time Zone, where Owensboro, Kentucky, and Spencer County, and the Huntingburg area's largest employers, AK Steel and Holiday World, are located. Jasper, though, stated that the majority of its business activity is aimed at the Eastern Seaboard and that returning to the Eastern Time Zone would be in the best interest of the county.[4] The final result was that Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, and Pike counties returned to the Eastern Time Zone on November 4, 2007, once again dividing Southwestern Indiana.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Economic Growth Region 11". Stats Indiana. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  2. ^ "Economic Growth Region 8". Stats Indiana. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  3. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  4. ^ "Some counties get OK to move back to Eastern Time zone". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
  5. ^ "Indiana does time warp again". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
  6. ^ "DOT Moves Five Indiana Counties from Central to Eastern Time". U.S. Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2008-09-19.

38°30′N 87°0′W / 38.500°N 87.000°W / 38.500; -87.000