What's it like to live in Fort Wayne, IN?


Tim Zink

Profile written by local expert:

Tim Zink

With its low cost of living and quiet neighborhoods, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is an excellent place to buy a house, start a career, launch a business and raise children. As a midsize metropolitan area in the heart of the Midwest, residents in Fort Wayne have access to the amenities one would expect to find in a large metropolis, like excellent entertainment options and a thriving arts scene. Residents also encounter many of the quirks that come with living in a small town, such as the yearly BuskerFest devoted to street performers, and the annual bed race that takes place during the Three Rivers Festival.

Fort Wayne has fared better than many of its Rust Belt region counterparts after losing many manufacturing jobs in the 1980s. Advanced manufacturing continues to play a large role in the region. Major investments in the economy have been made by manufacturers like General Motors and BAE Systems. Fort Wayne is undergoing a long-term revitalization with new living options and economic development projects centered downtown and the riverfront area. Older neighborhoods are also just beginning to see a return of younger residents wanting to live closer to downtown rather than in the suburbs, and small shops, trendy restaurants and breweries are beginning to follow them.

Even still, Fort Wayne is a community deeply rooted in tradition. Residents work to preserve the region's history, from preserving the oldest Native American structure in the U.S. to maintaining its reputation as one of the most religious places in the country. Fort Wayne has more than 360 churches, while the farmland northeast of the city proper is home to many Amish communities who maintain a plain lifestyle free of many technological advancements.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Fort Wayne, Indiana is ranked:

#40 in Best Places to Live

6.7

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    5.4
  • Value
    8.7
  • Job Market
    6.6
  • Quality of Life
    6.2
  • Net Migration
    5.9

Read how we rank places

Fort Wayne, IN Quick Stats

  • 429,060

    Metro Population

  • $43,590

    Average Annual Salary

  • N/A

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 36.4

    Median Age

  • $146,200

    Median Home Price

  • N/A

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.1%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $714

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 21.5 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Fort Wayne, IN?

The cost of living in Fort Wayne is much lower than the national average. Although the average salary for a Fort Wayne resident is noticeably lower than the average American, affordable home prices make buying a home a realistic goal for middle-class residents. The cost of groceries, utilities, gas, transportation and health care are all below the national average.

Value Index

Index Score: 8.7 /10

How we calculate this.


Fort Wayne offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2018-12


Fort Wayne
$146,200

USA
$226,500

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Fort Wayne, IN.

What's the weather like in Fort Wayne, IN?

Fort Wayne experiences all four seasons. The region is located far enough from the Great Lakes to avoid the majority of lake-effect snow. The fall weather is perfect for festivals and activities. Spring weather can be rainy at times, but residents can still get out and enjoy the outdoors. 

What's the best way to get around Fort Wayne, IN?

Residents of Fort Wayne rely heavily on their cars to get around. Interstate 69 quickly connects Fort Wayne to Indianapolis, located roughly 130 miles south, while Interstate 469 forms an arc around the southeast and northeast areas of Fort Wayne. U.S. Route 27 is the main north-south thoroughfare through downtown.

Older neighborhoods around downtown have bike lanes and sidewalks. Additionally, the 25-mile-long Rivergreenway Trail provides a scenic place to walk and bike along the riverfronts, while development of the new Six Mile Creek Trail in the southeast part of Fort Wayne is underway.

Public transit is provided by Citilink bus service, which operates routes around the greater Fort Wayne area, including Aboite, Waynedale and Pine Valley. The nearest commercial rail service is located 30 miles from downtown in Waterloo, Indiana.

Fort Wayne International Airport is serviced by Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, which offer nonstop flights to 12 major metro areas around the U.S., including PhoenixChicagoOrlando and New York City.

Commuting in Fort Wayne, IN

Means of Transportation
Driving
93%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
1%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
1%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

21.5 minutes

4.9 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Fort Wayne, IN?

Fort Wayne attracts families looking for a quiet community with quality schools, though there are a variety of age groups residing in the metro area from young singles to retirees.

Fort Wayne is home to different cultures and traditions. The community's German heritage is celebrated during the popular summertime Germanfest event. The area has also welcomed several thousand Burmese refugees over the past two decades. Meanwhile, rural Fort Wayne is home to a thriving Amish community.

There are numerous places of worship located throughout the area, with Evangelical Protestant and Catholic congregations having the most adherents.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Fort Wayne as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Fort Wayne, IN?

Fort Wayne has numerous family-friendly attractions, including Fort Wayne Children's Zoo and Science Central. Additionally, there are 86 public parks covering 2,805 acres where kids can stretch their legs.

Children aren't the only members of the Fort Wayne community who enjoy being active. Running and cycling events are popular with residents of all fitness levels, with the largest being the Fort4Fitness running and cycling events. Meanwhile, Fort Wayne has a robust sports tradition. There are three championship-winning minor league teams: the Komets (hockey), the TinCaps (baseball) and the Mad Ants (basketball).

There are numerous festivals and events throughout the year. The most prominent is the Three Rivers Festival, which features amusement rides, a junk food alley and other activities in the summer.

There are also many places to take in music in Fort Wayne. The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum and the Embassy Theatre feature a variety of popular headlining acts. New music events like the Baals Music Festival and Middle Waves Music Festival have brought electronic dance, hip-hop and alternative rock to downtown Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne Philharmonic symphony orchestra performs numerous classical music shows.

There is always a place to participate in arts and culture in the community. The Arts United Campus in downtown Fort Wayne offers many opportunities for residents to engage in the arts, including The Arts United Center performance venue, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Ballet and Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery. What's more, artists are taking to the streets with mural and sculpture projects popping up all around the region.