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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.Its northern areas lie in the mainstream of the industrial belt that extends from Pennsylvania and New York to Illinois.Agricultural activity is heaviest in the central region, which is situated in the Corn Belt, which stretches from Ohio to Nebraska.Several species of ferns also are found in the state’s woodlands.Many species of herbaceous plants cover the state’s prairie region, with goldenrod, bluestem grasses, and various European introductions among the most common.One of the most scenic parts of the state is the hilly south-central region around Brown County.Indiana has four distinct seasons and a temperate climate, usually escaping extremes of cold and heat.
Pollution of both air and water has been particularly severe near the industrial areas along the southern tip of Lake Michigan.
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; (2016 est.) 6,633,053. Indiana forms part of the east-central lowlands that slope downward from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River.
In January, daily temperatures in Jeffersonville, on the Ohio River in the south, usually rise from the low 20s F (about –6 °C) into the low 40s F (about 4 °C), while in South Bend, near Lake Michigan in the north, temperatures typically range from the mid-10s F (about −9 °C) to the low 30s F (about −1 °C).
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.