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Indianapolis /ˌɪndiəˈnæpɵlɨs/ (abbreviated Indy /ˈɪndi/) is the capital city of the U.S. state of Indiana, and also the county seat of Marion County. As of the 2010 census, the city’s population is 829,718. It is the 13th largest city in the United States and the 29th largest metropolitan area in the United States.
Historically, Indianapolis has oriented itself around government (a byproduct of its state capital function) and industry, particularly manufacturing. Over the late decades of the 20th century, the city’s Unigov began a long process to revitalize the downtown area. Today, Indianapolis has a much more diversified economy, contributing to the fields of education, health care, and finance. Tourism is also a vital part of the economy of Indianapolis, with the city playing host to numerous conventions and sporting events. Of these, perhaps the most well known are the annual Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, and NHRA U.S. Nationals. Other major sporting events include the Men’s and Women’s NCAA basketball tournaments. Indianapolis also hosted the Pan American Games in 1987 and Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.
Both Forbes and Livability.com rank Indianapolis as one of the best downtowns in the United States citing “more than 200 retail shops, more than 35 hotels, nearly 300 restaurants and food options, movie theaters, sports venues, museums, art galleries and parks” as attractions. Greater Indianapolis has seen moderate growth among U.S. cities. The population of the metropolitan statistical area was 1,756,241 according to the 2010 Census, making it the 34th-largest in the United States. The 2010 population of the Indianapolis combined statistical area, a larger trade area, was 2,080,782, the 23rd-largest in the country. Indianapolis is considered a gamma global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the balance (the part of Marion County not part of another municipality) has a total area of 368.2 square miles (954 km2) – 361.5 square miles (936 km2) of it is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) of it is water. The total area is 1.81% water. These figures do not, however, represent the entire Consolidated City of Indianapolis (all of Marion County, except the four excluded communities). The total area of the Consolidated City of Indianapolis, not including the four excluded communities, covers approximately 373.1 square miles (966 km2).
At the center of Indianapolis is the Mile Square, bounded by four appropriately named streets: East, West, North, and South Streets. Nearly all of the streets in the Mile Square are named after U.S. states. The exceptions are Meridian Street, which numerically divides west from east; Market Street, which intersects Meridian Street at Monument Circle; Capitol and Senate Avenues, where many of the Indiana state government buildings are located; and Washington Street, which was named after President George Washington. The street-numbering system centers not on the Circle, but rather one block to the south, where Meridian Street intersects Washington Street (part of the historic National Road).
Indianapolis is situated in the Central Till Plains region of the United States. Two natural waterways dissect the city: the White River and Fall Creek.
Physically, Indianapolis is similar to many other Midwestern cities. A mix of deciduous forests and prairie covered much of what is considered Indianapolis prior to the 19th century. Land within the city limits varies from flat to gently sloping; most of the changes in elevation are so gradual that they go unnoticed and appear to be flat at close range. The mean elevation for Indianapolis is 717 feet (219 m). The highest point in Indianapolis is Crown Hill Cemetery (the tomb of famed Hoosier writer James Whitcomb Riley) with an elevation of 842 feet (257 m). The lowest point in Indianapolis lies at the Marion County/Johnson County line, with an elevation of about 680 feet (207 m). The highest hill in Indianapolis is Mann Hill, a bluff located along the White River in Southwestway Park that rises about 150 feet (46 m) above the surrounding land. Variations in elevation from 700–900 feet occur throughout the city limits. There are a few moderately sized bluffs and valleys in the city, particularly along the shores of the White River, Fall Creek, Geist Reservoir, and Eagle Creek Reservoir, and especially on the city’s northeast and northwest sides.
As is typical in much of the Midwest, Indianapolis has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, with a July daily average temperature of 75.4 °F (24.1 °C). high temperatures reaching or exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) on an average 18 days, and occasionally exceeding 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 unheard of during these months. Winters are quite cold, with an average January temperature of 28.1 °F (−2.2 °C). Temperatures dip to or below 0 °F (−18 °C) on 4.7 nights per year. The rainiest months are in the spring and summer, with May typically the wettest; most rain is derived from thunderstorm activity; there is no distinct dry season with slightly higher summer averages. The city’s average annual precipitation is 42.4 inches (1,080 mm), and snowfall averages 26.2 inches (67 cm) per season. The record high for Indianapolis is 106 °F (41 °C), set on July 25, 1954. The record low is −27 °F (−33 °C), set on January 19, 1994.
High rise construction in Indianapolis started in 1888 with the 256-foot (78 m) high Indiana Statehouse, followed by the 284-foot (87 m) Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in 1898. However, because of a special ordinance disallowing building higher than the structure, the monument remained the highest structure until the completion of the City-County Building in 1962.
In the 1970s, the central business district saw decreased economic activity and, as a result, downtown Indianapolis saw little new construction. By the 1980s, the city of Indianapolis addressed these issues by developing plans to redefine the city’s downtown and neighborhoods. Tall skyscrapers started being built to define Indianapolis’s skyline, such as the One America building in 1982. This development also carried over to the 1990s, when the Chase Tower was built.
Neighborhood development was also addressed. Indianapolis neighborhoods were designated in relation to their proximity to the city center, and plans were initiated for them to be redeveloped.
In 2011, the population of Indianapolis was estimated to be 839,489. The population density is 2,230 persons per square mile.
At the 2010 Census, 58.0% of the population was White, 27.2% Black or African American, 0.2% American Indian, 2.1% Asian (0.6% Chinese, 0.4% Indian, 0.3% Filipino, 0.2% Burmese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Vietnamese, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Thai, 0.1% other Asian), 0.3% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 2.2% of two or more races (non-Hispanic). 10.0% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race (6.5% Mexican, 1.3% Puerto Rican, 1.1% Honduran, 1.0% Guatemalan, 0.1% other Hispanic and Latino). Due to emigration resulting from the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s, Indianapolis has over 10,000 people from the former Yugoslavia.
Greater Indianapolis is a rapidly growing region located at the center of Indiana and consists of Marion County, Indiana and several adjacent counties. The Combined Statistical Area (CSA) of Indianapolis exceeded 2 million people in the 2007 estimate, ranking 23rd in the United States and 7th in the Midwest. As a unified labor and media market, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had a 2010 population of 1.83 million people, ranking 33rd in the United States and 7th largest in the Midwest.
A University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee study concluded in 2010 that Indianapolis is the least segregated city in the northern United States, with 25% of the population living on a city block with both white and black residents.
There were 324,342 households out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.7% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.7% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.03.
The age distribution was 25.7% under 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,154, and the median income for a family was $48,979. Males had a median income of $36,372 versus $27,757 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,789. About 9.0% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under the age of 18 and 8.1% of those ages 65 or older.