Indiana, constituent state of the United States of America. states in terms of total area and, except for Hawaii, is the smallest state west of the Appalachian Mountains.The state sits, as its motto claims, at “the crossroads of America.” It borders Lake Michigan and the state of Michigan to the north, Ohio to the east, Kentucky to the south, and Illinois to the west, making it an integral part of the American Midwest. With a name that is generally thought to mean “land of the Indians,” Indiana was admitted on December 11, 1816, as the 19th state of the union. Today Indiana’s economy is based primarily on services, manufacturing, and, to a much lesser extent, agriculture.Annual precipitation varies from about 45 inches (1,150 mm) in the south-central region to about 37 inches (940 mm) in the north.Snow may fall over a six-month period and averages more than 20 inches (510 mm) annually, with the cities along the northern border often reporting more than 100 inches (2,540 mm).One of the most scenic parts of the state is the hilly south-central region around Brown County.
Their significant African American and Hispanic populations and the political aspirations contrast strikingly with life in the smaller cities and towns near the state’s southern boundary.The climate of northwestern Indiana is modified greatly by its presence in the lee of Lake Michigan.Cold air passing over the warmer lake water in fall (October through December) and winter (January through March) induces heavy precipitation, and winter snowfall especially is several times greater than in other parts of the state.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.
Although Indiana is historically part of the North, many parts of the state display a character that is much like that of the South.