Main Births etc
Indianapolis, Indiana
—  Consolidated city-county  —
City of Indianapolis and Marion County
Indianapolis skyline
Butler UniversityDepew Memorial Fountain and Indiana World War Memorial Plaza
Indianapolis Museum of ArtIndianapolis 500
Scottish Rite CathedralSoldiers' and Sailors' Monument
Clockwise from top: Downtown Indianapolis skyline and White River, Depew Memorial Fountain and Indiana World War Memorial Plaza, Indianapolis 500, Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Scottish Rite Cathedral, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and Butler University

Official seal of Indianapolis, Indiana
Nickname(s): "Indy"; "Circle City"; "Crossroads of America"; "Naptown"; "Amateur Sports Capital of the World"
Location of Indianapolis in Marion County and Indiana

Indianapolis is located in the USA <div style="position: absolute; top: Expression error: Missing operand for *.%; left: 212.7%; height: 0; width: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;">
Location of Indianapolis in the contiguous United States
Country United States
State Indiana
County Marion
Founded January 6, 1821[1]
Incorporated (town) September 3, 1832[1]
Incorporated (city) March 30, 1847[1]
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Body Indianapolis City-County Council
 • Mayor Joe Hogsett (D)
 • Consolidated city-county 372 sq mi (963.5 km2)
 • Land 365.1 sq mi (945.6 km2)
 • Water 6.9 sq mi (17.9 km2)
Elevation 715 ft (218 m)
Population (2010)[2][3]
 • Consolidated city-county 820,445
 • Estimate (2016)[4] 855,164
 • Rank 1st in Indiana
3rd largest State Capital
15th in the United States
 • Density 2,230/sq mi (861/km2)
 • Urban 1,487,483 (US: 33rd)
 • Metro 2,004,230 (US: 34th)
 • CSA 2,386,199 (US: 27th)
Demonym Indianapolitan[5]
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 317 and 463
FIPS code 18-36003[6]

Indianapolis (pronounced /ˌɪndi.əˈnæpəls/[7][8][9]), is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Marion County. It is in the East North Central region of the Midwestern United States. With an estimated population of 855,164 in 2016, Indianapolis is the second most populous city in the Midwest and 15th most populous in the U.S.[10] The city is the economic and cultural center of the Indianapolis metropolitan area, home to 2 million people, the 34th most populous metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. Its combined statistical area ranks 27th, with 2.38 million inhabitants. Indianapolis covers 372 sq mi (960 km2), making it the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.

Founded in 1821 as a planned city for the new seat of the government of Indiana, Indianapolis was platted by Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham on a 1 sq mi (2.6 km2) grid adjacent to the White River. The city grew beyond the Mile Square, as completion of the National Road and advent of the railroad solidified the city's position as a manufacturing and transportation hub. Indianapolis is within a single-day drive of 70 percent of the nation's population, lending to one of its nicknames as the "Crossroads of America".[11][12] Anchoring the 25th largest economic region in the U.S., the city's economy is based primarily on business services, transportation and logistics, education, financial services, hospitality and tourism, and distribution services.[13][14] Indianapolis has developed niche markets in amateur sports and auto racing.[14][15] The city is perhaps best known for annually hosting the world's largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500.[16]

Led by the Lilly Endowment, the city's philanthropic community has been instrumental in the development of its cultural institutions, such as The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Museum of Art.[17][18][19][20] The city is notable as headquarters for the American Legion and home to a significant collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war dead, the most in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C.[21][22] Since the 1970 city-county consolidation, known as Unigov, local government administration has operated under the direction of an elected 25-member city-county council headed by the mayor. Indianapolis is considered a "high sufficiency" world city.[23]



The name Indianapolis is derived from the state's name, Indiana (meaning "Land of the Indians", or simply "Indian Land" [24]), and polis, the Greek word for city.

19th century[]

A depiction of 1820 Indianapolis

The Third Indiana Statehouse (1835–1877)

In 1816, the year Indiana gained statehood, the U.S. Congress donated four sections of federal land to establish a permanent seat of state government.[25] Two years later, under the Treaty of St. Mary's (1818), the Delaware relinquished title to their tribal lands in central Indiana, agreeing to leave the area by 1821.[26] This tract of land, which was called the New Purchase, included the site selected for the new state capital in 1820.[27]

The availability of new federal lands for purchase in central Indiana attracted settlers, many of them descendants of families from northwestern Europe. Although many of these first European and American setters were Protestants, a large proportion of the early Irish and German immigrants were Catholics. Few African Americans lived in central Indiana before 1840.[28] The first European Americans to permanently settle in the area that became Indianapolis were either the McCormick or Pogue families. The McCormicks are generally considered to be the first permanent settlers; however, some historians believe George Pogue and family may have arrived first, on March 2, 1819, and settled in a log cabin along the creek that was later called Pogue's Run. Other historians have argued as early as 1822 that John Wesley McCormick, his family, and employees became the first European American settlers in the area, settling near the White River in February 1820.[29]

On January 11, 1820, the Indiana General Assembly authorized a committee to select a site in central Indiana for the new state capital.[30] The state legislature approved the site, adopting the name Indianapolis on January 6, 1821.[1] In April, Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham were appointed to survey and design a town plan for the new settlement.[31] Indianapolis became a seat of county government on December 31, 1821, when Marion County, was established. A combined county and town government continued until 1832 when Indianapolis incorporated as a town. Indianapolis became an incorporated city effective March 30, 1847. Samuel Henderson, the city's first mayor, led the new city government, which included a seven-member city council. In 1853, voters approved a new city charter that provided for an elected mayor and a fourteen-member city council. The city charter continued to be revised as Indianapolis expanded.[32] Effective January 1, 1825, the seat of state government relocated to Indianapolis from Corydon, Indiana. In addition to state government offices, a U.S. district court was established at Indianapolis in 1825.[33]

Growth occurred with the opening of the National Road through the town in 1827, the first major federally funded highway in the United States.[34] A small segment of the ultimately failed Indiana Central Canal was opened in 1839.[35] The first railroad to serve Indianapolis, the Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, began operation in 1847, and subsequent railroad connections fostered growth.[36] Indianapolis Union Station was the first of its kind in the world when it opened in 1853.[37]

Confederate POWs at Camp Morton in 1864.

Child laborers in an Indianapolis furniture factory, 1908.

During the American Civil War, Indianapolis was loyal to the Union cause. Governor Oliver P. Morton, a major supporter of President Abraham Lincoln, quickly made Indianapolis a rallying place for Union army troops. On February 11, 1861, president-elect Lincoln arrived in the city, en route to Washington, D.C. for his presidential inauguration, marking the first visit from a president-elect in the city's history.[38] On April 16, 1861, the first orders were issued to form Indiana's first regiments and establish Indianapolis as a headquarters the state's volunteer soldiers.[39][40] Within a week, more than 12,000 recruits signed up to fight for the Union.[41]

Indianapolis became a major logistics hub during the war, establishing the city as a crucial military base.[42][43] Between 1860 and 1870, the city's population more than doubled.[36] An estimated 4,000 men from Indianapolis served in 39 regiments, and an estimated 700 died during the war.[44] On May 20, 1863, Union soldiers attempted to disrupt a statewide Democratic convention at Indianapolis, forcing the proceedings to be adjourned, sarcastically referred to as the Battle of Pogue's Run.[45] Fear turned to panic in July 1863, during Morgan's Raid into southern Indiana, but Confederate forces turned east toward Ohio, never reaching Indianapolis.[46] On April 30, 1865, Lincoln's funeral train made a stop at Indianapolis, where an estimated crowd of more than 100,000 people passed the assassinated president's bier at the Indiana Statehouse.[43][47]

Following the Civil War—and in the wake of the Second Industrial Revolution—Indianapolis experienced tremendous growth and prosperity. In 1880, Indianapolis was the world's third largest pork packing city, after Chicago and Cincinnati, and the second largest railroad center in the United States by 1888.[48][49] By 1890, the city's population surpassed 100,000.[36] Some of the city's most notable businesses were founded during this period of growth and innovation, including L. S. Ayres (1872), Eli Lilly and Company (1876), Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company (1910), and Allison Transmission (1915). Once home to 60 automakers, Indianapolis rivaled Detroit as a center of automobile manufacturing.[50] The city was an early focus of labor organization.[36] The Indianapolis Street Car Strike of 1913 and subsequent police mutiny and riots led to the creation of the state's earliest labor-protection laws, including a minimum wage, regular work weeks, and improved working conditions.[51] The International Typographical Union and United Mine Workers of America were among several influential labor unions to be based in the city.[36]

20th century[]

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in 1970, the year Unigov was enacted.

Some of the city's most iconic architecture and events were established at the turn of the 20th century. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, dedicated on May 15, 1902, would later become the city's unofficial symbol.[52] Ray Harroun won the inaugural running of the Indianapolis 500, held May 30, 1911, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapolis was one of the hardest hit cities in the Great Flood of 1913, resulting in five known deaths[53][54][55] and the displacement of 7,000 families.[56]

As a stop on the Underground Railroad, Indianapolis had a higher black population than any other city in the Northern States, until the Great Migration.[57] Led by D. C. Stephenson, the Indiana Klan became the most powerful political and social organization in Indianapolis from 1921 through 1928, controlling City Council and the Board of School Commissioners, among others. At its height, more than 40% of native-born white males in Indianapolis claimed membership in the Klan. While campaigning in the city in 1968, Robert F. Kennedy delivered one of the most lauded speeches in 20th century American history, following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.[58][59][60] As in most U.S. cities during the Civil Rights Movement, the city experienced strained race relations. A 1971 federal court decision forcing Indianapolis Public Schools to implement desegregation busing proved controversial.[61]

Under the mayoral administration of Richard Lugar, the city and county governments restructured, consolidating most public services into a new entity called Unigov. The plan removed bureaucratic redundancies, captured increasingly suburbanizing tax revenue, and created a Republican political machine that dominated Indianapolis politics until the 2000s decade.[62][63] Unigov went into effect on January 1, 1970, increasing the city's land area by 308.2 square miles (798 km2) and population by 268,366 people.[64][65] It was the first major city-county consolidation to occur in the United States without a referendum since the creation of the City of Greater New York in 1898.[66]

Amid the changes in government and growth, the city invested in an aggressive strategy to brand Indianapolis as a sport tourism destination. Under the administration of the city's longest-serving mayor, William Hudnut (1976–1992), millions of dollars were poured into sport facilities.[15] Throughout the 1980s, $122 million in public and private funding built the Indianapolis Tennis Center, Major Taylor Velodrome, Indiana University Natatorium, Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium, and Hoosier Dome.[15] The latter project secured the 1984 relocation of the NFL Baltimore Colts and the 1987 Pan American Games.[15] The economic development strategy succeeded in revitalizing the central business district through the 1990s, with the openings of the Indianapolis Zoo (1988), Canal Walk (1989–2001),[35] Circle Centre Mall (1995), Victory Field (1996), and Conseco Fieldhouse (1999).

21st century[]

During the 2000s, the city continued investing heavily in infrastructure projects, including two of the largest building projects in the city's history: the $1.1 billion Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal and $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium, both opened in 2008.[67][68] A $275 million expansion of the Indiana Convention Center was completed in 2011.[69] Construction began that year on DigIndy, a $1.9 billion project to correct the city's combined sewer overflows (CSOs) by 2025.[70]


Downtown as seen from Crown Hill Cemetery, elevation 842 feet (257 m).[71]

Indianapolis is located in the East North Central region of the Midwestern United States, in central Indiana. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Indianapolis (balance) encompasses a total area of 368.2 square miles (954 km2), of which 361.5 square miles (936 km2) is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) is water. The consolidated city boundaries are coterminous with Marion County, with the exception of the autonomous municipalities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport, and Speedway.[36][72] Indianapolis is the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.

Indianapolis is situated within the Tipton Till Plain, a flat to gently sloping terrain underlain by glacial deposits known as till.[73] The lowest point in the city is about 650 feet (198 m) above mean sea level, with the highest natural elevation at about 900 feet (274 m) above sea level.[73] Few hills or short ridges, known as kames, rise about 100 feet (30 m) to 130 feet (40 m) above the surrounding terrain.[73] The city lies just north of the Indiana Uplands, a region characterized by rolling hills and high limestone content. The city is also situated within the EPA's Eastern Corn Belt Plains ecoregion, an area of the U.S. known for its fertile agricultural land.[74]

Topographic relief slopes gently toward the White River and its two primary tributaries, Fall and Eagle creeks. In total, there are about 35 streams in the city, including Indian Creek and Pogue's Run.[75] Major bodies of water include Indian Lake, Geist Reservoir, and Eagle Creek Reservoir.


Panorama of the downtown Indianapolis skyline in 2016.
Panorama of the downtown Indianapolis skyline in 2016.

Alexander Ralston's "Plat of the Town of Indianapolis," today known as the Mile Square.

Salesforce Tower, the tallest building in the city, overlooks the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza.

Indianapolis is a planned city. On January 11, 1820, the Indiana General Assembly authorized a committee to select a site in central Indiana for the new state capital, appointing Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham to survey and design a town plan for Indianapolis. Ralston had been a surveyor for the French architect Pierre L'Enfant, assisting him with the plan for Washington, D.C. Ralston's original plan for Indianapolis called for a town of 1 square mile (2.6 km2), near the confluence of the White River and Fall Creek.[76] The plan, known as the Mile Square, is bounded by East, West, North, and South streets, centered on a traffic circle, called Monument Circle (originally Governor's Circle), from which Indianapolis' "Circle City" nickname originated.[77] Four diagonal streets radiated a block from Monument Circle: Massachusetts, Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana avenues.[78] The city's address numbering system begins at the intersection of Washington and Meridian streets.[79] Before its submersion into a sanitary tunnel, Pogue's Run was included into the plan, disrupting the rectilinear street grid to the southeast.

Noted as one of the finest examples of the City Beautiful movement design in the United States, the seven-block Indiana World War Memorial Plaza Historic District began construction in 1921 in downtown Indianapolis.[80][81] The National Historic Landmark includes the Neoclassical American Legion and Central Library buildings, Depew Memorial Fountain, several sculptures and memorials, and open space, hosting many annual civic events.[81]

After completion of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, an ordinance was passed in 1905 restricting building heights on the traffic circle to 86 ft (26 m) to protect views of the 284 ft (87 m) monument.[82] The ordinance was revised in 1922, permitting buildings to rise to 108 ft (33 m), with an additional 42 ft (13 m) allowable with a series of setbacks.[82] A citywide height restriction ordinance was instituted in 1912, barring structures over 200 ft (61 m).[83] Completed in 1962, the City-County Building was the first skyscraper in the city, surpassing the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in height by nearly 100 ft (30 m).[84] A building boom, lasting from 1982 to 1990, saw the construction of six of the city's ten tallest buildings.[85] The tallest is Salesforce Tower, completed in 1990 at 811 ft (247 m).[86]

Indiana limestone is the signature building material in Indianapolis, widely included in the city's many monuments, churches, academic, government, and civic buildings.[87]


A residence in Woodruff Place on the city's east side.

The city is divided into 99 community areas for statistical purposes, though many smaller neighborhoods exist within these areas.[88] Indianapolis' neighborhoods are often difficult to define because the city lacks historical ethnic divisions, as in Chicago, or physical boundaries, seen in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.[89] Instead, most neighborhoods are subtle in their distinctions.[89] The Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission recognizes several neighborhoods as historic districts, including: Central Court, Chatham Arch, Golden Hill, Herron-Morton Place, Lockerbie Square, Old Northside, and Oliver Johnson's Woods. Expansion of the interurban system at the turn of the 20th century facilitated growth of several streetcar suburbs, including Broad Ripple, Irvington, University Heights and Woodruff Place.[89]

The post–World War II economic expansion and subsequent suburbanization had a profound impact on the physical development of the city's neighborhoods. From 1950 to 1970, 97,000 housing units were built in Marion County.[89] Most of this new construction occurred outside Center Township, expediting out-migration from the city's urban neighborhoods to suburban areas, such as Castleton, Eagledale, and Nora. Between 1950 and 1990, over 155,000 residents left Center Township, resulting in urban blight and disinvestment.[89] Since the 2000s, downtown Indianapolis and surrounding neighborhoods have seen increased reinvestment attributed to nationwide demographic trends, driven by empty nesters and millennials.[90] By 2020, downtown is projected to have 30,000 residential units, compared to 18,300 in 2010.[91] Renewed interest in urban living has been met with some dispute regarding gentrification and affordable housing.[92][93][94] According to a Center for Community Progress report, neighborhoods like Cottage Home and Fall Creek Place have experienced measurable gentrification since 2000.[95]


Fall foliage (left) and a late-winter snow (right) on the Butler University campus.

Indianapolis is in the humid continental climate zone (Köppen: Dfa) using the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm, experiencing four distinct seasons.[96] The city is in USDA hardiness zone 6a.[97]

Typically, summers are hot, humid and wet. Winters are generally cold with moderate snowfall. The July daily average temperature is 75.4 °F (24.1 °C). High temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 18 days each year,[98] and occasionally exceed 95 °F (35 °C). Spring and autumn are usually pleasant, if at times unpredictable; midday temperature drops exceeding 30 °F or 17 °C are common during March and April, and instances of very warm days (80 °F or 27 °C) followed within 36 hours by snowfall are not unusual during these months. Winters are cold, with an average January temperature of 28.1 °F (−2.2 °C). Temperatures dip to 0 °F (−18 °C) or below an average of 4.7 nights per year.[98]

The rainiest months occur in the spring and summer, with slightly higher averages during May, June, and July. May is typically the wettest, with an average of 5.05 inches (12.8 cm) of precipitation.[98] Most rain is derived from thunderstorm activity; there is no distinct dry season, although occasional droughts occur. Severe weather is not uncommon, particularly in the spring and summer months; the city experiences an average of 20 thunderstorm days annually.[99]

The city's average annual precipitation is 42.4 inches (108 cm), with snowfall averaging 25.9 inches (66 cm) per season. Official temperature extremes range from 106 °F (41 °C), set on July 14, 1936,[100] to −27 °F (−33 °C), set on January 19, 1994.[100][101] Template:Indianapolis weatherbox


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 2,695
1850 8,091 200.2%
1860 18,611 130.0%
1870 48,244 159.2%
1880 75,056 55.6%
1890 105,436 40.5%
1900 169,164 60.4%
1910 233,650 38.1%
1920 314,194 34.5%
1930 364,161 15.9%
1940 386,972 6.3%
1950 427,173 10.4%
1960 476,258 11.5%
1970 744,624 56.3%
1980 700,807 −5.9%
1990 731,327 4.4%
2000 781,926 6.9%
2010 820,445 4.9%
Est. 2016 855,164 [4] 9.4%

The U.S. Census Bureau considers Indianapolis as two entities: the consolidated city and the city's remainder, or balance. The consolidated city covers an area known as Unigov, coterminous with Marion County, except the independent municipalities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport and Speedway. The city's balance excludes the populations of ten semi-autonomous municipalities that are included in totals for the consolidated city.[72] These are Clermont, Crows Nest, Homecroft, Meridian Hills, North Crows Nest, Rocky Ripple, Spring Hill, Warren Park, Williams Creek, and Wynnedale.[104] An eleventh town, Cumberland, is partially included.[105][106] The city's consolidated population for the year 2012 was 844,220.[72] The city's remainder, or balance, population was estimated at 834,852 for 2012,[2] a 2% increase over the total population of 820,445 reported in the 2010 U.S. Census.[3][107] As of 2010, the city's population density was 2,270 persons per square mile.[2] Indianapolis is the most populous city in Indiana, containing 12.8% of the state's total population.[72]

Racial composition 2014[108] 2010[109] 1990[110] 1970[110]
White 62.0% 61.8% 75.8% 81.6%
—Non-Hispanic 58.6% 58.6% 75.2% 80.9%[111]
Black or African American 27.9% 27.5% 22.6% 18.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 9.6% 9.4% 1.1% 0.8%[111]
Asian 2.4% 2.1% 0.9% 0.1%

Map of racial distribution in Indianapolis, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)

The Athenæum (Das Deutsche Haus), a National Historic Landmark, was the cultural and social center of the German immigrant community, the city's largest ethnic group.[112]

The Indianapolis metropolitan area, officially the Indianapolis–Carmel–Anderson metropolitan statistical area (MSA), consists of Marion County and the surrounding counties of Boone, Brown, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Morgan, Putnam and Shelby. As of 2012, the metropolitan area's population was 1,798,634, the most populous in Indiana.[113] Indianapolis anchors the larger Indianapolis–Carmel–Muncie combined statistical area (CSA), with a population of 2,336,237. Indianapolis is also situated within the Great Lakes Megalopolis, one of 11 megaregions in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Census of 2010, 97.2% of the Indianapolis population was reported as one race: 61.8% White, 27.5% Black or African American, 2.1% Asian (0.4% Burmese, 0.4% Indian, 0.3% Chinese, 0.3% Filipino, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Vietnamese, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Thai, 0.1% other Asian); 0.3% American Indian, and 5.5% as other. The remaining 2.8% of the population was reported as multiracial (two or more races).[107] The city's Hispanic or Latino community comprised 9.4% of the city's population in the 2010 U.S. Census: 6.9% Mexican, .4% Puerto Rican, .1% Cuban, and 2% as other.[107]

As of 2010, the median age for Indianapolis was 33.7 years. Age distribution for the city's inhabitants was 25% under the age of 18; 4.4% were between 18 and 21; 16.3% were age 21 to 65; and 13.1% were age 65 or older.[107] For every 100 females, there were 93 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90 males.[114]

The U.S. Census for 2010 reported 332,199 households in Indianapolis, with an average household size of 2.42 and an average family size of 3.08.[107] Of the total households, 59.3% were family households, with 28.2% of these including the family's own children under the age of 18; 36.5% were husband-wife families; 17.2% had a female householder (with no husband present) and 5.6% had a male householder (with no wife present). The remaining 40.7% were non-family households.[107] As of 2010, 32% of the non-family households included individuals living alone, 8.3% of these households included individuals age 65 years of age or older.[107]

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2007–2011 American Community Survey indicated the median household income for Indianapolis city was $42,704, and the median family income was $53,161.[115] Median income for males working full-time, year-round, was $42,101, compared to $34,788 for females. Per capita income for the city was $24,430, 14.7% of families and 18.9% of the city's total population living below the poverty line (28.3% were under the age of 18 and 9.2% were age 65 or older).[115]

As of 2015, the Indianapolis metropolitan area had the 18th highest percentage of LGBT residents in the U.S., with 4.2% of residents identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.[116]


Interior of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, head church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Of the 42.42% of the city's residents who identify as religious, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, at 11.31%.[117] The second highest religious group in the city are Baptists at 10.31%, with Methodists following behind at 4.97%. Presbyterians make up 2.13% of the city's religiously affiliated population, followed by Pentecostals and Lutherans. Another 8.57% are affiliated with other Christian faiths.[117] 0.32% of religiously affiliated persons identified themselves as following Eastern religions, while 0.68% of the religiously affiliated population identified as Jewish, and 0.29% as Muslim.[117] According to the nonpartisan and nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute's American Values Atlas, 22% of residents identify as religiously "unaffiliated," consistent with the national average of 22.7%.[118]

Indianapolis is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., served as archbishop from 2012 to 2017 and was elevated to cardinal in November 2016. On June 13, 2017, Pope Francis announced Charles C. Thompson would replace Tobin, who was reassigned to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark in January 2017.[119] Thompson will be the youngest American archbishop upon his installation on July 28, 2017.[120] The archdiocese also operates Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary, affiliated with Marian University, while the Christian Theological Seminary is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Indianapolis is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, based from Christ Church Cathedral. The Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church are also based in the city.


Downtown Indianapolis is the largest employment cluster in Indiana, with nearly 43,000 jobs per square mile.[121]

In 2015, the Indianapolis metropolitan area had a gross domestic product (GDP) of $134 billion. The top five industries were: finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing ($30.7B), manufacturing ($30.1B), professional and business services ($14.3B), educational services, health care, and social assistance ($10.8B), and wholesale trade ($8.1B). Government, if it had been a private industry, would have ranked fifth, generating $10.2 billion.[122]

Compared to Indiana as a whole, the Indianapolis metropolitan area has a lower proportion of manufacturing jobs and a higher concentration of jobs in wholesale trade; administrative, support, and waste management; professional, scientific, and technical services; and transportation and warehousing.[123] The city's major exports include pharmaceuticals, motor vehicle parts, medical equipment and supplies, engine and power equipment, and aircraft products and parts.[11] As of March 2017, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.[124]

Major companies and institutions[]

Based in Indianapolis, Eli Lilly and Company is the city's largest employer.

FedEx Express cargo plane at Indianapolis International Airport.

As of 2016, three Fortune 500 companies were based in the city: health insurance company Anthem Inc. (33); pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly (141); and Simon Property Group (488), the largest real estate investment trust in the U.S.[125] Columbus, Indiana-based Cummins (160) opened its Global Distribution Headquarters in downtown Indianapolis in 2017.[126] Two Fortune 1000 companies are located in the city: hydrocarbon manufacturer Calumet Specialty Products Partners (571) and automotive transmission manufacturer Allison Transmission (979). Two more Fortune 1000 companies are located in the suburb of Carmel: financial services holding company CNO Financial Group (611) and KAR Auction Services (808).[127] Other notable companies based in the Indianapolis metropolitan area include: media conglomerate Emmis Communications; retailers Finish Line and Lids (Zionsville); financial services holding company OneAmerica; airline holding company Republic Airways; truckload carrier Celadon Group; and restaurant chains Noble Roman's, Scotty's Brewhouse and Steak 'n Shake.

Like many Midwestern cities, recent deindustrialization trends have had a significant impact on Indianapolis' economy. Once home to 60 automakers, Indianapolis rivaled Detroit as a center of automobile manufacturing in the early 20th century.[50] Between 1990 and 2012, approximately 26,900 manufacturing jobs were lost in the city, including the automotive plant closures of Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors.[128] In 2016, Carrier Corporation announced the closure of its Indianapolis plant, moving 1,400 manufacturing jobs to Mexico.[129] Since 1915, Rolls-Royce Holdings has had operations in Indianapolis.[130] It is the third largest manufacturing employer and thirteenth largest employer overall in the city, with a workforce of 4,300 in aircraft engine development and manufacturing.[131]

Biotechnology, life sciences and health care are major sectors of Indianapolis' economy. As of 2016, Eli Lilly and Company was the largest private employer in the city, with more than 11,000 workers.[132] The North American headquarters for Roche Diagnostics and Dow AgroSciences are also located in the city.[133] A 2014 report by Battelle Memorial Institute and Biotechnology Industry Organization indicated that the Indianapolis–Carmel–Anderson MSA was the only U.S. metropolitan area to have specialized employment concentrations in all five bioscience sectors evaluated in the study: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; bioscience-related distribution; drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; and research, testing, and medical laboratories.[134] The regional health care providers of Community Health Network, Franciscan Health, Indiana University Health, and St. Vincent Health have a combined workforce of 43,700.[135]

The city's central location and extensive highway and rail infrastructure have positioned Indianapolis as an important logistics center, home to 1,500 distribution firms employing some 100,000 workers.[136][137][138] As home to the second largest FedEx Express hub in the world, Indianapolis International Airport ranks as the sixth busiest U.S. airport in terms of air cargo, handling over 1 million tons and employing 6,600 in 2015.[139][140] Indianapolis is a hub for CSX Transportation, home to its division headquarters, an intermodal terminal, and classification yard (in the suburb of Avon).[141] Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops, in the enclave of Beech Grove, serve as its primary heavy maintenance and overhaul facility, while the Indianapolis Distribution Center is the company's largest material and supply terminal.[142][143] In 2011, the Indianapolis metropolitan area was ranked as the tenth largest inland port in the U.S. in terms of origin-destination freight tonnage.[128]

The hospitality industry is an increasingly vital sector to the Indianapolis economy. According to Visit Indy, 28.2 million visitors generated $4.9 billion in 2015, the fourth straight year of record growth.[144] Indianapolis has long been a sport tourism destination, but has more recently relied on conventions.[145] The Indiana Convention Center (ICC) and Lucas Oil Stadium are considered mega convention center facilities, with a combined 750,000 feet (230,000 m) of exhibition space.[146] ICC is connected to 12 hotels and 4,700 hotel rooms, the most of any U.S. convention center.[147] In 2008, the facility hosted 42 national conventions with an attendance of 317,815; in 2014, it hosted 106 for an attendance of 635,701.[145] Since 2003, Indianapolis has hosted Gen Con, one of the largest gaming conventions in North America.[148]

According to real estate tracking firm CBRE Group, Indianapolis ranks among the fastest high-tech job growth areas in the U.S.[149][150] The metropolitan area is home to 28,500 information technology-related jobs at such companies as Angie's List, Appirio, Genesys, Ingram Micro, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud.[151][152]

Major shopping malls in the city include Castleton Square, Circle Centre, The Fashion Mall at Keystone, Glendale Town Center, Lafayette Square, and Washington Square.

Culture and contemporary life[]

File:Race to Indy!.jpg

Part of the "Month of May" celebrations, the 500 Festival Parade is one of the nation's largest, regularly drawing 300,000 spectators.[153]

In 1999, Indianapolis designated six cultural districts to capitalize on cultural institutions within historically significant neighborhoods unique to the city's heritage. These include Broad Ripple Village, Canal and White River State Park, Fountain Square, Indiana Avenue, Mass Ave, and Wholesale.[154] A seventh cultural district, Market East, was designated in 2014.[155] After 12 years of planning and six years of construction, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick officially opened in 2013.[156] The $62.5 million public-private partnership, spurred by an initial donation of $15 million by builder/philanthropist Gene B. Glick and his wife, resulted in 8 miles (13 km) of urban bike and pedestrian corridors linking six cultural districts with neighborhoods, IUPUI, and every significant arts, cultural, heritage, sports and entertainment venue downtown.[157][158][159][160][161]

Indianapolis is home to dozens of annual festivals and events showcasing local culture. Notable events include the "Month of May" (a series of celebrations leading to the Indianapolis 500), Circle City IN Pride, Indiana Black Expo, Indiana State Fair, and Historic Irvington Halloween Festival.

Visual arts[]

Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Founded in 1883, the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) is the ninth oldest[162][note 1] and eighth largest encyclopedic art museum in the U.S.[164][note 2] The permanent collection comprises over 54,000 works, including African, American, Asian and European pieces.[165] In addition to its collections, the museum consists of 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park; Oldfields, a restored house museum and estate once owned by Josiah K. Lilly, Jr.; and restored gardens and grounds originally designed by Percival Gallagher of the Olmsted Brothers firm.[166] The IMA also owns the Miller House, a Mid-Century modern home designed by Eero Saarinen located in Columbus, Indiana.[167] The museum's holdings demonstrate the institution's emphasis on the connections among art, design and the natural environment.[163]

The Indianapolis Art Center, located in Broad Ripple Village, was founded in 1934 by the Works Project Administration. The center opened at its Michael Graves-designed building in 1996, including three public art galleries, 11 studios, a library, auditorium and ArtsPark along the White River.[168] The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art was established in 2001, and is located in The Murphy Art Center in Fountain Square. In 2014, the museum opened a second public gallery in The Alexander Hotel at CityWay in downtown Indianapolis.[169]

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art opened in 1989 at White River State Park as the only Native American art museum in the Midwest.[170] Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) contains the Herron School of Art and Design. Established in 1902, the school's first core faculty included Impressionist painters of the Hoosier Group: T. C. Steele, J. Ottis Adams, William Forsyth, Richard Gruelle, and Otto Stark. The university's public art collection is extensive, with more than 30 works.

Performing arts[]

Madame Walker Theatre Center opened on Indiana Avenue in 1927 as a cultural center for the city's African American community.[171]

Indianapolis' most notable performing arts venues are located in the Mass Ave cultural district or Downtown. Located on Monument Circle since 1916, the 1,786-seat Hilbert Circle Theatre is the current home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The Indiana Theatre opened as a movie palace on Washington Street in 1927, currently housing the Indiana Repertory Theatre, a regional repertory theatre. Madame Walker Theatre Center also opened that year on Indiana Avenue, in the heart of the city's African American neighborhood. The theater is named for Madame C.J. Walker, an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist who began her beauty empire in Indianapolis.

Mass Ave is home to the Old National Centre, Phoenix Theatre, and the Athenæum (Das Deutsche Haus). Old National Centre at the Murat Shrine is the oldest stage house in Indianapolis, opened in 1909.[172] The building is a prime example of Moorish Revival architecture and features a 2,600-seat performing arts theatre, 1,800-seat concert hall, and 600-seat multi-functional room, hosting approximately 300 public and private events throughout the year.[172] The nonprofit Phoenix Theatre focuses on contemporary theatrical productions.[173] The Athenӕum, houses the American Cabaret Theater and Young Actors Theater.

Other notable venues include the Indianapolis Artsgarden, a performing arts center suspended over the intersection of Washington and Illinois streets, Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler University campus, Melody Inn in Butler-Tarkington, and The Emerson Theater in Little Flower.

Indianapolis is home to Bands of America (BOA), a nationwide organization of high school marching, concert, and jazz bands, and the international headquarters of Drum Corps International (DCI), a professional drum and bugle corps association.[174] Annual music events include the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Midwest Music Summit, and Indy Jazz Fest. The Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis International Film Festival, Indianapolis Jewish Film Festival, Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival and the Indianapolis Alternative Media Festival are annual events held in the city.


A mural memorializing Kurt Vonnegut stands on Mass Ave. The project was completed by local artist Pamela Bliss in 2011.

Indianapolis was at the center of the Golden Age of Indiana Literature from 1870 to 1920.[175] Several notable poets and writers based in the city achieved national prominence and critical acclaim during this period, including James Whitcomb Riley, Booth Tarkington and Meredith Nicholson.[12] In A History of Indiana Literature, Arthur W. Shumaker remarked on the era's influence: "It was the age of famous men and their famous books. In it Indiana, and particularly Indianapolis, became a literary center which in many ways rivaled the East."[176] A 1947 study found that Indiana authors ranked second to New York in the number of bestsellers produced in the previous 40 years.[175] Located in Lockerbie Square, the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962.

Perhaps the city's most famous 20th century writer was Kurt Vonnegut, known for his darkly satirical and controversial bestselling novel Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). Vonnegut became known for including at least one character in his novels from Indianapolis.[177] Upon returning to the city in 1986, Vonnegut acknowledged the influence the city had on his writings: "All my jokes are Indianapolis. All my attitudes are Indianapolis. My adenoids are Indianapolis. If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business. What people like about me is Indianapolis."[177][178] The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library opened in 2010 in downtown Indianapolis.[178]

Indianapolis is the current home to bestselling young adult fiction writer John Green, known for his critically acclaimed 2012 novel The Fault in Our Stars, set in the city.[179]


Azy, a male orangutan at the Indianapolis Zoo.

"Bucky," a juvenile Tyrannosaurus specimen at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is a National Historic Landmark.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the largest of its kind in the world.[180] In total, the museum has 472,900 square feet (43,933.85 m2) of floor space.[181] The museum has a collection of over 120,000 artifacts,[182] divided into three collections: Natural World, Cultural World, and American.[183] The museum's collection includes the Broad Ripple Park Carousel, a National Historic Landmark. Because of its leadership and innovations, the museum is a world leader in its field.[184] Child and Parents magazine have both ranked the museum as the best children's museum in the U.S.[185] The museum is one of the city's most popular attractions, with 1.2 million visitors in 2014.[186]

As of 2015, the Indianapolis Zoo was home to nearly 1,400 animals of 214 species and 31,000 plants, including many threatened and endangered species.[187][188] The zoo is a leader in animal conservation and research, recognized for its biennial Indianapolis Prize designation. It is the largest privately funded zoo in the U.S. and one of the city's most visited attractions, with 1.2 million guests in 2014.[19][186]

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum exhibits an extensive collection of auto racing memorabilia showcasing various motorsports and automotive history.[189][190] The museum is the permanent home of the Borg-Warner Trophy, presented to Indianapolis 500 winners.[16] Daily grounds and track tours are also based at the museum.[190] The NCAA Hall of Champions opened in 2000 at White River State Park housing collegiate athletic artifacts and interactive exhibits covering all 23 NCAA-sanctioned sports.[191][192]

Indianapolis is home to several history centers commemorating Indiana history. These include the Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Library and Historical Bureau, Indiana State Museum, and Indiana Medical History Museum. Indiana Landmarks, the largest private statewide historic preservation organization in the U.S., is also located in the city.[193] The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, located in the Old Northside Historic District, is open for daily tours and includes archives and memorabilia from the 23rd President of the United States. President Harrison is buried about 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the site at Crown Hill Cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other notable graves include three U.S. Vice Presidents and notorious American gangster, John Dillinger.

Two museums and several memorials in the city commemorate armed forces or conflict, including the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument and Indiana World War Memorial Military Museum at the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza. Outside of Washington, D.C., Indianapolis contains the largest collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war casualties in the nation.[21][22] Other notable sites are Crown Hill National Cemetery, the Medal of Honor Memorial, Project 9/11 Indianapolis, and the USS Indianapolis National Memorial.

Food and drink[]

Indianapolis City Market was founded in 1821.

Indianapolis has an emerging food scene as well as established eateries.[194] Founded in 1821 as the city's public market, the Indianapolis City Market has served the community from its current building since 1886. Prior to World War II, the City Market and neighboring Tomlinson Hall (since demolished) were home to meat and vegetable vendors. As consumer habits evolved and residents moved from the central city, the City Market transitioned from a traditional marketplace to a food court, a function it retains today.[195]

Opened in 1902, St. Elmo Steak House is well known for its signature shrimp cocktail, named by the Travel Channel as the "world's spiciest food". In 2012, it was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as one of "America's Classics".[196] The Slippery Noodle Inn, a blues bar and restaurant, is the oldest continuously operating tavern in Indiana, having opened in 1850.[197] The Jazz Kitchen, opened in 1994, was recognized in 2011 by OpenTable as one the "top 50 late night dining hotspots" in the U.S.[198]

In 2016, Condé Nast Traveler named Indianapolis the "most underrated food city in the U.S.," while ranking Milktooth as one of the best restaurants in the world.[199][200] Food & Wine called Indianapolis the "rising star of the Midwest," recognizing Milktooth, Rook, Amelia's, and Bluebeard, all in Fletcher Place.[201][202] Several Indianapolis chefs and restaurateurs have been semifinalists in the James Beard Foundation Awards in recent years.[203] Microbreweries are quickly becoming a staple in the city, increasing fivefold since 2009.[204] There are now about 50 craft brewers in Indianapolis, with Sun King Brewing being the largest.[205]

For some time, Indianapolis was known as the "100 Percent American City" for its racial and ethnic homogeneity.[206] Historically, these factors, as well as low taxes and wages, provided chain restaurants a relatively stable market to test dining preferences before expanding nationwide. As a result, the Indianapolis metropolitan area had the highest concentration of chain restaurants per capita of any market in the U.S. in 2008, with one chain restaurant for every 1,459 people—44% higher than the national average.[207] In recent years, immigrants have opened some 800 ethnic restaurants.[206]


Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Indianapolis Colts since 2008.

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home to the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever since 1999.

Victory Field, home to the Indianapolis Indians since 1996.

Two major league sports teams are based in Indianapolis: the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL) and the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Originally the Baltimore Colts, the franchise has been based in Indianapolis since relocating there in 1984. The Colts' tenure in Indianapolis has produced 11 division championships, two conference championships, and two Super Bowl appearances. Quarterback Peyton Manning led the team to win Super Bowl XLI in the 2006 NFL season. Lucas Oil Stadium replaced the team's first home, the RCA Dome, in 2008. Founded in 1967, the Indiana Pacers began in the American Basketball Association (ABA), joining the NBA when the leagues merged in 1976. Prior to joining the NBA, the Pacers won three division titles and three championships (1970, 1972, 1973). Since the merger, the Pacers have won one conference title and six division titles, most recently in 2014.

Founded in 2000, the Indiana Fever of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) have won three conference titles and one championship in 2012. The Fever and Pacers share Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which replaced Market Square Arena in 1999. The Indianapolis Indians of the International League (AAA) is the second oldest minor league franchise in American professional baseball, established in 1902.[208] The Indians have won 25 division titles, 14 league titles, and seven championships, most recently in 2000. Since 1996, the team has played at Victory Field, which replaced Bush Stadium. Of the 160 teams comprising Minor League Baseball, the Indians had the highest attendance during the 2016 season.[209] Established in 2013, Indy Eleven of the North American Soccer League (NASL) plays from IU Michael A. Carroll Stadium. Indy Fuel of the ECHL was founded in 2014 and plays from Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

Butler University and Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) are NCAA Division I schools based in the city. The Butler Bulldogs compete in the Big East Conference, except for Butler Bulldogs football, which plays in the Pioneer Football League FCS. The Butler Bulldogs men's basketball team were runners-up in the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship Games. The IUPUI Jaguars compete in the Summit League.

Traditionally, Indianapolis' Hinkle Fieldhouse was the hub for Hoosier Hysteria, a general excitement around the game of basketball throughout the state, specifically the Indiana High School Boys Basketball Tournament.[210] Hinkle, a National Historic Landmark, was opened in 1928 as the world's largest basketball arena, with seating for 15,000.[211] It is regarded as "Indiana's Basketball Cathedral". Perhaps the most notable game was the 1954 state championship, which inspired the critically acclaimed 1986 film, Hoosiers.[212]

Indianapolis has been called the "Amateur Sports Capital of the World".[36][213] The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the main governing body for U.S. collegiate sports, and the National Federation of State High School Associations are based in Indianapolis. The city is home to three NCAA athletic conferences: the Horizon League (Division I); the Great Lakes Valley Conference (Division II); and the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (Division III). Indianapolis is also home to three national sport governing bodies, as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee: USA Gymnastics; USA Diving; and USA Track & Field.[214]

Indianapolis hosts numerous sporting events annually, including the Circle City Classic (1983–present), NFL Scouting Combine (1987–present), and Big Ten Football Championship Game (2011–present). Indianapolis is tied with New York City for having hosted the second most NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships (1980, 1991, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2010, and 2015).[215] The city will host the men's Final Four next in 2021.[216] Notable past events include the NBA All-Star Game (1985), Pan American Games X (1987), US Open Series Indianapolis Tennis Championships (1988–2009), WrestleMania VIII (1992), World Rowing Championships (1994), World Police and Fire Games (2001), FIBA Basketball World Cup (2002), and Super Bowl XLVI (2012).

Indianapolis is home to the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the largest half marathon and seventh largest running event in the U.S.[217] The mini-marathon is held the first weekend of May as part of the 500 Festival, leading up to the Indianapolis 500. As of 2013, it had sold out for 12 consecutive years, with 35,000 participants.[218] Held in autumn, the Monumental Marathon is also among the largest in the U.S., with nearly 14,000 entrants in 2015.[219]


The 2008 Indianapolis 500, the 92nd running of the race.

Indianapolis is a major center for motorsports. Since 1911, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) (in the enclave of Speedway, Indiana) has been the site of the Indianapolis 500, an open-wheel automobile race held each Memorial Day weekend. Considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, the Indianapolis 500 is the world's largest single-day sporting event, hosting more than 257,000 permanent seats.[16] The city is headquarters to INDYCAR, the sanctioning body for American Championship car racing, and more than 500 motorsports companies and racing teams, employing some 10,000 people in the region.[220] Indianapolis is so well connected with racing that it has inspired the name "IndyCar," used for both the competition and type of car used in it.[221]

Since 1994, IMS has hosted Super Weekend at the Brickyard, a series of automobile races leading to one of NASCAR's highest attended events, the Monster Energy Cup Series Brickyard 400.[222] Since 2014, IMS has also hosted the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, in nearby Hendricks County, is home to the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) U.S. Nationals, the most prestigious drag racing event in the world, held annually each Labor Day weekend.[223]

Parks and recreation[]

Eagle Creek Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the U.S.

Indy Parks and Recreation maintains nearly 200 parks covering 11,246 acres (4,551.1 ha).[224] Eagle Creek Park is the largest and most visited park in the city and ranks among the largest municipal parks in the U.S., covering 4,766 acres (1,928.7 ha).[225] Fishing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming are popular activities at Eagle Creek Reservoir. Notable recreational trails include the Canal Walk, Pleasant Run Trail, and Monon Trail, accommodating 2.8 million users in 2012.[226] There are 13 public golf courses in the city.[227]

Military Park was established as the city's first public park in 1852.[228] By the 20th century, the city enlisted landscape architect George Kessler to conceive a framework for Indianapolis' modern parks system.[229] Kessler's 1909 Indianapolis Park and Boulevard Plan linked notable parks, such as Brookside, Ellenberger, and Garfield, with a system of parkways following the city's waterways.[230] In 2003, the system's 3,474 acres (1,405.9 ha) were added to the National Register of Historic Places.[231]

Two state parks are located in Marion County: Fort Harrison in Lawrence and White River downtown. Encompassing 250 acres (101 ha), White River is the city's major urban park, home to the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens.[187] Indianapolis lies about 50 miles (80 km) north of two state forests, Morgan–Monroe and Yellowwood, and one national forest, Hoosier. Crown Hill Cemetery, the third largest private cemetery in the U.S., covers 555 acres (224.6 ha) on the city's north side and is home to more than 250 species of trees and shrubs comprising one of the largest old-growth forests in the Midwest.[232][233]

According to the Trust for Public Land's 2017 ParkScore Index, Indianapolis tied for last with respect to public park accessibility in the 100 largest U.S. cities evaluated. Currently, some 68% of residents are under served. The city's large land area and low public funding contributed to the ranking.[234]


The City-County Building, home to the consolidated city-county government.

The Indiana Statehouse houses the Indiana General Assembly and Indiana Supreme Court.

Indianapolis has a consolidated city-county government known as Unigov, a status it has held since 1970. Under this structure, many functions of the city and county governments are consolidated, though some remain separate.[104] The city has a mayor-council form of government.

The executive branch is headed by an elected mayor, who serves as the chief executive of both the city and Marion County. Joe Hogsett, a Democrat, is the 49th and current mayor of Indianapolis. The mayor appoints deputy mayors, department heads, and members of various boards and commissions. The legislative body for the city and county is the City-County Council, consisting of 25 members all of whom represent geographic districts. Council has the exclusive power to adopt budgets, levy taxes, and make appropriations. Council can also enact, repeal, or amend ordinances, subject to the mayor's approval, and make appointments to certain boards and commissions. The judicial branch consists of a Circuit Court, a Superior Court with four divisions and 32 judges, and a Small Claims Court.[104] The three branches, along with most local government departments, are based in the City-County Building.

As the state capital, Indianapolis is the seat of Indiana's state government. The Indiana Statehouse, located downtown, houses the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government, including the office of the governor, Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Court of Appeals, and the Indiana Supreme Court. Most of the state's bureaus are located in Indiana Government Centers North and South. The Indiana Governor's Residence is located on Meridian Street in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood, about 5 miles (8.0 km) north of downtown.

Most of Indianapolis is within the 7th Congressional District of Indiana, represented by André Carson (D). Northern portions of the city are in the 5th District, represented by Susan Brooks (R).[235] Federal field offices are located in the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse (which houses the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana) and Minton-Capehart Federal Building. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, is headquartered in nearby Lawrence.


File:Indianapolis tea party 2007.jpg

Tea Party protests in 2007. The city has a history of political conservatism.[62]

Indianapolis was considered one of the most conservative major cities in the United States.[62] Republicans held the mayor's office for 32 years (1967–1999), and controlled the City-County Council from its inception in 1970 to 2003.[62] As of 2014, the city is regarded as politically moderate.[236]

Republican Greg Ballard chose not to run for a third term in the 2015 mayoral election.[237] Republican Chuck Brewer and Democrat Joe Hogsett were the candidates to replace him. Each had similar plans for addressing the city's issues, and the commonality between them contributed to a very low voter turnout.[238] Hogsett previously held public office as Indiana Secretary of State, and had served in government for over 30 years, giving him greater name recognition than Brewer, a local restaurateur.[239] Hogsett was elected with 63% of the vote, officially taking office on January 1, 2016.[239] The 2015 City-County Council elections also left Democrats in control of City-County Council, holding a 13–12 majority over Republicans, only the second time since the creation of Unigov that Democrats controlled both the mayor's office and council.[240]

Public safety[]

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department interceptor in 2008.

The Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) provides fire protection services as the primary emergency response agency for 278 square miles (720 km2) of Marion County. IFD provides automatic and mutual aid to the excluded municipalities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, and Speedway, as well as Decatur, Pike, and Wayne townships who have retained their own fire departments. The fire district comprises seven geographic battalions with 44 fire stations, dual-staffing a forty-fifth station with the City of Lawrence Fire Department.[104] As of 2014, 1,205 sworn firefighters responded to nearly 100,000 incidents annually.[241] As of 2016, Ernest Malone was the fire chief.[242]

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) is a full-service metropolitan police department whose jurisdiction covers Marion County, with the exception of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Speedway, and the Indianapolis Airport Authority.[243] In 2016, IMPD operated six precincts with 1,640 sworn police personnel and 200 civilian employees.[104] As of 2017, Bryan Roach is the chief of police.[244]

According to the FBI's 2015 Uniform Crime Report, Indianapolis ranks as the 16th most dangerous city in the U.S., with 17.1 homicides per 100,000 people, compared with the U.S. rate of 4.9 homicides per 100,000 people.[245] Between 2012 and 2014, the murder rate rose by 44%. There were 138 homicides in 2014, with 60% of victims being young black men.[246] With 144 criminal homicides, 2015 surpassed 1998 as the year with the most murder investigations in the city.[247] There were also 447 nonfatal shootings in 2015, representing a 24% increase over the 361 shootings recorded during the same time period in 2014.[247] Criminal homicides peaked again in 2016, with 149 murders.[248] Law enforcement has blamed increased violence on a combination of root causes, including poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, and availability of firearms.[249]


Colleges and universities[]

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis has the city's largest higher education enrollment.

Central Library, hub of the Indianapolis Public Library's 23-branch system.

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was founded in 1969 after merging the branch campuses of Indiana University and Purdue University.[250] IUPUI's current enrollment is 30,105, the third largest in the state.[251] IUPUI has two colleges and 18 schools, including the Herron School of Art and Design, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, School of Dentistry, and the Indiana University School of Medicine, the largest medical school in the U.S.[252][253] The city is home to the largest campus for Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, a state-funded community college serving nearly 100,000 students statewide.[254]

Five private universities are based in Indianapolis. Established in 1855, Butler University is the oldest higher education institution in the city, with an undergraduate enrollment of about 4,000.[255] Affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, Marian University was founded in 1936 when St. Francis Normal and Immaculate Conception Junior College merged, moving to Indianapolis in 1937. Marian has an enrollment of about 2,137 students.[256] Founded in 1902, the University of Indianapolis is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school's current enrollment is 4,169 students.[257] Martin University was founded in 1977 and is the state's only predominately black university.[258] Crossroads Bible College and Indiana Bible College are small Christian colleges located in the city.

Satellite campuses located in the city include Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning, Grace College, Indiana Institute of Technology, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Vincennes University.

Schools and libraries[]

Nine public school districts serve residents of Indianapolis: Franklin Township Community School Corporation, MSD Decatur Township, MSD Lawrence Township, MSD Perry Township, MSD Pike Township, MSD Warren Township, MSD Washington Township, MSD Wayne Township, and Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). As of 2016, IPS was the second largest public school district in Indiana, serving nearly 30,000 students.[104][259]

A number of private primary and secondary schools are operated through the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, charters, or other independent organizations. Founded in 1873, the Indianapolis Public Library includes the Central Library and 23 branches throughout Marion County. The Indianapolis Public Library served 4.2 million patrons in 2014, with a circulation of 15.9 million materials.[260]


The Indianapolis Star marquee at Circle Center.

Indianapolis is served by various print media. Founded in 1903, The Indianapolis Star is the city's daily morning newspaper. The Star is owned by Gannett Company, with a daily circulation of 127,064.[261] The Indianapolis News was the city's daily evening newspaper and oldest print media, published from 1869 to 1999. Notable weeklies include NUVO, an alternative weekly newspaper, the Indianapolis Recorder, a weekly newspaper serving the local African American community, the Indianapolis Business Journal, reporting on local real estate, and the Southside Times. Indianapolis Monthly is the city's monthly lifestyle publication.

Broadcast television network affiliates include WTTV (CBS), WRTV (ABC), WISH-TV (The CW), WTHR-TV (NBC), WXIN-TV (Fox), WFYI-TV (PBS), WNDY-TV (MyNetworkTV), WDNI-CD (Telemundo), and WIPX-TV (Ion). The majority of commercial radio stations in the city are owned by Cumulus Media, Emmis Communications, iHeartMedia, and Radio One. Popular nationally syndicated radio program The Bob & Tom Show has been based at Indianapolis radio station WFBQ since 1983.[262] As of 2016, the Indianapolis metropolitan area was the 27th largest television market and 39th largest radio market in the U.S.[263][264]

Indianapolis natives Jane Pauley and David Letterman launched their notable broadcasting careers in local media, Pauley with WISH-TV and Letterman with WTHR-TV, respectively.[265][266] Motion pictures at least partially filmed in the city include Speedway,[267] To Please a Lady,[268] Winning,[269] Hoosiers,[270] Going All the Way,[271] Eight Men Out,[272] and Eagle Eye.[273] Television series set in Indianapolis have included One Day at a Time; Good Morning, Miss Bliss; Men Behaving Badly; Cops;[274] Close to Home;[275] the second season of anthology drama American Crime,[276] and HGTV's Good Bones.[277]



Washington Street (National Road) at Illinois Street in 1904, one block from the Indianapolis Traction Terminal.

BlueIndy electric carsharing launched in 2015.

The first major federally funded highway in the U.S., the National Road, reached Indianapolis in 1836,[34] followed by the railroad in 1847. By 1850, eight railroads converged in the city, ending its isolation from the rest of the country and ushering in a new era of growth.[278] Indianapolis Union Station opened in 1853 as the world's first union station.[37] Citizen's Street and Railway Company was established in 1864, operating the city's first mule-drawn streetcar line.[279][280] By 1890, electric-powered streetcars began running.[281] Opened in 1904, the Indianapolis Traction Terminal was the largest interurban station in the world, handling 500 trains daily and 7 million passengers annually.[282] Ultimately doomed by the automobile, the terminal closed in 1941, followed by the streetcar system in 1957.[283]

Indianapolis' current transportation infrastructure comprises a complex network that includes a public bus system, two Amtrak passenger rail lines, multiple freight rail lines, an Interstate Highway System, two airports, a heliport, a private people mover, carshare and bikeshare systems, and miles of bike lanes and trails.

Roads and highways[]

Four interstate highways intersect the city: Interstate 65, Interstate 69, Interstate 70, and Interstate 74. Two auxiliary Interstate Highways are located in the metropolitan area: a beltway (Interstate 465) and connector (Interstate 865). An expansion project to extend Interstate 69 from Evansville to Indianapolis is in progress.[284] The predominant mode of transportation in the region is the automobile, with 92.6% of residents commuting by car, most traveling alone (83.4%).[285]


The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, branded as IndyGo, operates the city's public transit network. In 2017, City-County Council approved a voter referendum increasing Marion County's income tax to help fund IndyGo's first major system expansion since its founding in 1975. The plan includes construction of three bus rapid transit lines, new buses, sidewalks, and bus shelters, and increased frequencies on all existing routes, to be completed by 2024.[286][287]

Despite only 1% of residents commuting via public transportation,[285] IndyGo had a 2014 ridership of 10.3 million, the highest in 23 years.[288] In 2016, the Julia M. Carson Transit Center opened, the downtown hub for 27 of its 31 bus routes.[289] The Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) is a quasi-governmental agency that operates three public buses from Indianapolis to employment centers in Plainfield and Whitestown.

Alternative modes[]

Reliance on the automobile has affected the city's development patterns, with Walk Score ranking Indianapolis as one of the least walkable large cities in the U.S.[290] Only 2.7% of residents walk or bike to work.[285] The city has encouraged enhanced bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in recent years. Indianapolis has some 75 miles (121 km) of trails and 90 miles (140 km) of on-street bike lanes.[291]

The Indiana University Health People Mover was opened in 2003 to connect IU Health's medical facilities with the Indiana University School of Medicine. The privately operated people mover is free and open to the public, stopping at three stations over a length of 1.4 mi (2.25 km).[292]

A 29-station bike sharing system was inaugurated in 2014.[293] An electric carsharing program, BlueIndy, was launched in 2015. It will ultimately include 500 electric cars and 200 charging stations throughout the city.[294]


Indianapolis International Airport's Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal.

Indianapolis International Airport (IND) is the busiest airport in the state, serving 8.5 million passengers in 2016. Completed in 2008, the Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal contains two concourses, 40 gates, and includes parking for 14,000 vehicles.[295] IND connects to 45 domestic and international destinations, averaging 143 daily departures.[296] As home to the second largest FedEx Express hub in the world, IND ranks as the sixth busiest U.S. airport in terms of air cargo, handling over 1 million tons in 2015.[139][297]

Besides managing IND, the Indianapolis Airport Authority oversees operations at five additional airports in the region, two of which are located in Indianapolis: Eagle Creek Airpark (EYE) and the Indianapolis Downtown Heliport.[298]


Amtrak currently provides two intercity rail lines to Indianapolis via Union Station, serving about 30,000 passengers in 2015.[143] The Cardinal makes three weekly trips between New York City and Chicago, while the Hoosier State operates on the four days the Cardinal does not operate, running to Chicago. Three intercity bus service providers stop in the city: Greyhound Lines and Burlington Trailways (via Union Station), and Megabus (via City Market).[299]

Health care[]

University Hospital, part of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital is the flagship medical center for Indiana's oldest health care system, founded in 1855 as Indianapolis City Hospital.

Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) covers six townships within the city (Center, Franklin, Lawrence, Perry, Warren, and Washington) and the town of Speedway. IEMS responded to nearly 100,000 emergency dispatch calls in 2014.[300]

Indiana University Health's Academic Health Center encompasses Marion County, with the medical centers of University Hospital, Methodist Hospital, and Riley Hospital for Children. The Academic Health Center is anchored by the Indiana University School of Medicine, the second largest medical school in the U.S.[131][253] Riley Hospital for Children is among the nation's foremost pediatric health centers, recognized in all ten specialties by U.S. News and World Report, including top 25 honors in orthopedics (23), nephrology (22), gastroenterology and GI surgery (16), pulmonology (13), and urology (4).[301] The 430-bed facility also contains Indiana's only Pediatric Level I Trauma Center.[302]

Indianapolis' public medical center, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital, opened in 2013 after a $754 million project to replace Wishard Memorial Hospital on the IUPUI campus. Eskenazi includes an Adult Level I Trauma Center, 315 beds, and 275 exam rooms, annually serving 1.2 million outpatients.[303] Opened in 1932, the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center is Indiana's tertiary referral hospital for former armed services personnel, treating more than 60,000 veterans annually.[304] Located on the city's far north side, St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital is the flagship medical center of St. Vincent Health's 22-hospital system. St. Vincent Indianapolis includes Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana, St. Vincent Seton Specialty Hospital, and St. Vincent Women's Hospital. Franciscan Health Indianapolis' flagship medical center is located on the city's far south side.

Community Health Network contains dozens of specialty hospitals and three emergency medical centers in Marion County, including Community Hospital South, Community Hospital North, and Community Hospital East. Community Hospital East is currently replacing its 60-year-old facility with a $175 million, 150-bed hospital to be completed in 2019.[305] The campus will also include a $120 million, 159-bed state-funded mental health and chronic addiction treatment facility. The Indiana Neuro-Diagnostic Institute will replace the antiquated Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital in 2018.[306]

According to Indianapolis-based American College of Sports Medicine's 2016 American Fitness Index Data Report, the city scored last of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas for health and community fitness.[307] Higher instances of obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes, smoking, and asthma contributed to the ranking.[308]


Perry K. Generating Station produces steam for the city's district heating system.

Electricity is provided by Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL), a subsidiary of AES Corporation.[309] IPL generates 3,343 MW of electricity at four power stations, two wind farms,[310] and 34 solar farms,[311] covering a service area of 528 square miles (1,370 km2).[312] Despite a portfolio comprised 100% of nonrenewable energy sources in 2007, IPL ended coal-firing operations at its Harding Street Station in 2016.[310] In 2016, Indianapolis had the second highest number of photovoltaics (PVs) per capita in the U.S.[311]

Citizens Energy Group provides residents with natural gas, water, wastewater, and thermal services.[313][314] Citizens is the only public charitable trust formed to operate utilities in the U.S.[315] Covanta Energy operates a waste-to-energy plant in the city, processing solid waste for steam production.[314][316] Steam is sold to Citizens' Perry K. Generating Station for the downtown Indianapolis district heating system, the second largest in the U.S.[317]

Eleven solid waste districts are managed by one of three garbage collection providers: the city's Department of Public Works, Republic Services, and Waste Management. Republic Services collects recycling in all 11 districts.[318] The Department of Public Works' Operations Division is responsible for snow and ice removal, with a fleet of more than 70 snow removal trucks plowing approximately 7,300 miles (11,700 km) of public streets after winter weather events.[319][320]

Notable people[]

Sister cities[]

Indianapolis has seven sister cities and two friendship cities as designated by Sister Cities International.[321]

Sister cities

  • Brazil Campinas, Brazil (since 2009)
  • Germany Cologne, Germany (since 1988)
  • Italy Monza, Italy (since 1993)
  • United Kingdom Northamptonshire, United Kingdom (since 2009)
  • Nigeria Onitsha, Nigeria (since 2017)[322]
  • Slovenia Piran, Slovenia (since 2001)
  • Republic of China Taipei, Taiwan (since 1978)

Friendship cities

See also[]

  • Great Lakes Megalopolis
  • Indianapolis (balance)
  • Indianapolis Catacombs
  • Keep Indy Indie


  1. ^ The nine oldest museums in the U.S. are: Peabody Essex Museum, 1799; Wadsworth Atheneum, 1842; Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1870; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1870; Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1876; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, 1878; Art Institute of Chicago, 1879; Cincinnati Art Museum, 1881; Portland Museum of Art, 1882; Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1883.[163]
  2. ^ At 669,484 square feet (62,197.1 m2), the IMA is eighth largest in the U.S. in Main Museum Building space among the 130 respondents in the Association of Art Museum Directors 2010 Statistical Survey.[164]


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