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Santa Claus is a town located in Spencer County, Indiana. In 1990 it had a population of 927. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 2,041. The ZIP code is 47579.
The community was laid out in 1846. The story of its naming may be a matter of local legend. On Christmas Eve of 1849, with the place yet unnamed, there was a combined town council meeting and Christmas Party. In the course of the party Santa Claus appeared with his bag of goodies. This inspired one of those present to suggest the name Santa Claus for the town, and the motion was passed unanimously. Seven years later in 1856 the name was accepted by the Post Office Department, and the first post office was opened with John Specht as first postmaster.
Some years later the town's activities were moved two miles along the road to Santafee leaving behind only the Methodist church and the campground. The Post Office, however, did move and its postmarks continued to be used from the new location. The two communities were merged in the 1880s, retaining the Santa Claus name. In 1895 the Post Office name was changed to the one word "Santaclaus" but this was changed back in 1927.
In 1946 the retired industrialist Louis J. Koch set up Santa Claus Land, which is claimed to be the first theme park in the world. The parks name was changed to Holiday World in 1984. In 1993 water rides were added under the name Splashin' Safari. More recently the development of Christmas Lake Village as a gated retirement community has more than doubled the population of Santa Claus.
Santa Claus is located at 38°7'8" North, 86°55'17" West (38.118870, -86.921422)1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.4 km² (5.6 mi²). 13.4 km² (5.2 mi²) of it is land and 1.0 km² (0.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 6.82% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 2,041 people, 732 households, and 620 families residing in the town. The population density is 152.1/km² (393.8/mi²). There are 818 housing units at an average density of 61.0/km² (157.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 99.22% White, 0.00% African American, 0.00% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 0.15% from two or more races. 0.69% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 732 households out of which 39.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 79.0% are married couples living together, 4.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 15.2% are non-families. 12.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 4.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.79 and the average family size is 3.05.
In the town the population is spread out with 29.3% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 94.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $60,388, and the median income for a family is $61,991. Males have a median income of $44,514 versus $24,050 for females. The per capita income for the town is $23,957. 1.2% of the population and 1.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 1.3% are under the age of 18 and 0.0% are 65 or older.