Muncie is an agricultural center with a college-town element and a variety of industries. In the 19th century the Ball family started manufacturing canning jars, and Ball jars are still the world standard. The family business endowed Ball State University, a mid-sized school with an attractive campus and and good reputation. The college-town influence and private endowments bring above-average healthcare and a few arts amenities. The Cost of Living Index is one of the lowest in the state and a good value for what’s available. Housing is also very reasonable.
The city has long served as a model “mid-America” town for sociological and marketing studies starting in the 1920’s and continuing into the present. Negatives include a harsh winter climate and somewhat lower educational attainment than would be expected in a college town. Recent and projected future employment trends are very weak. That said, student loan funder Sallie Mae recently announced a new facility bringing 700 jobs. Recent redevelopment efforts have brought new streetscapes, parks, and some national recognition. Muncie’s future may be better than the numbers suggest, and it doesn’t hurt to be only 60 miles from Indianapolis and its prosperous northeast suburbs.
The town is located in a mainly level agricultural plain, with a few rolling hills to the south and areas of deciduous trees. Summers are warm and humid with thundershowers but extreme heat is rare. Winters are cold and variable with occasional blasts of cold polar air and snow. Snowfalls of 3 inches or more occur on average of two to three times each winter. First freeze is mid to late October, the last is late April.