PopulationMetro: 434,617
Plentiful jobs and affordable, varied housing stock have elevated Fort Wayne above the rust belt legacies of less innovative cities.

A wide variety of cultural and tourist attractions and housing affordability make this city of 265,000 in northeastern Indiana an attractive place to live.

Named after the fort built in 1794 by General Anthony Wayne at the confluence of the St. Joseph and St Mary’s rivers, Fort Wayne got its start as a strategic military installation and trading post, and then went on to become a major manufacturing centre.

Notable inventions like the gasoline pump, refrigerator and first home video game console owe their origins to the bright minds and entrepreneurs of this city. Like a lot of Rust Belt cities, Fort Wayne’s manufacturing economy took a big hit in the 1980s. However it has emerged from this depression, with a 21st-century economy based on transportation and distribution, health care services and leisure and hospitality, but hasn’t completely turned its back on the manufacturing sector.

CITY PERFORMANCE
Place
Place 39
Product
Product 37
Programming
Programming 22
People
People 38
Prosperity
Prosperity 48
Promotion
Promotion 29

The city is a defense industry hub, with companies like BAE Systems, Harris Corporation and Raytheon Systems employing thousands. The city lands at #11 for the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered here.

As part of its civic rejuvenation, Fort Wayne invested heavily in urban renewal, with projects like the Allen County Public Library, Grand Wayne Convention Center and Fort Wayne Museum of Art, which along with the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, and landmarks like the 1930s art deco Lincoln Bank Tower, once the city’s tallest, boosts the city to a #16 rank for Attractions.