Bluffton was named for river bluffs near the original town site. The Bluffton post office has been in operation since 1839.
Bluffton was included in the corporate name of the short-lived Cincinnati, Bluffton and Chicago Railroad, founded in 1903. The railroad's Bluffton bridge collapsed on May 22, 1913, and the struggling carrier went out of business shortly thereafter.
Bluffton is one of the first towns in Indiana, and across America, to both publicly acknowledge its history of exclusion and to promote itself as an inclusive town. In 2006, Bluffton was featured in USA Today as an inclusive town that was putting up welcoming, inclusive signs at all local schools as well as at the entrances of three state highways. Mayor Ted Ellis was noted in the article for his helping Bluffton become one of the first to join the National League of Cities' Partnership for Working Toward Inclusive Communities.
The Stewart-Studebaker House, Villa North Historic District, and Wells County Courthouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The John A. Grove House is formerly listed.
Bluffton is located at 40°44′17″N 85°10′20″W (40.737991, -85.172223).
According to the 2010 census, Bluffton has a total area of 8.359 square miles (21.65 km2), of which 8.23 square miles (21.32 km2) (or 98.46%) is land and 0.129 square miles (0.33 km2) (or 1.54%) is water.
As of the 2010 census, there were 9,897 people, 4,112 households, and 2,585 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,202.6 inhabitants per square mile (464.3/km2). There were 4,532 housing units at an average density of 550.7 per square mile (212.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.0% White, 0.7% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 1.3% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.
There were 4,112 households of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.1% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.93.
The median age in the city was 38.3 years. 24.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.3% were from 25 to 44; 25.3% were from 45 to 64; and 16.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.
As of the 2000 census, there were 9,536 people, 3,922 households, and 2,517 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,442.7 people per square mile (557.0/km²). There were 4,197 housing units at an average density of 635.0 per square mile (245.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.65% White, 0.34% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.79% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.35% of the population.
There were 3,922 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.2% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 90.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,416, and the median income for a family was $45,294. Males had a median income of $33,088 versus $22,018 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,118. About 6.4% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.Adam Ballinger, basketball player
Randy Borror, member of the Indiana House of Representatives
Charles Clemon Deam, botanist; born in Bluffton in 1865
Chandler Harnish, football's 2012 Mr. Irrelevant
Don Lash, champion long-distance runner who won the 1938 James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States, was born in Bluffton in 1912.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former U.S. Senator from New York, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, former ambassador to India
Everett Scott, MLB baseball player