Today, Indianapolis is a diverse and multi-ethnic city with a 30% black population and a total non-white population of 45%. The city continues to face extreme economic and health disparities between races. And one in eight people (12.2%) who live in the Central Indiana region, as defined by the thirty-three county Indianapolis television market, is African-American. Indianapolis was also recently ranked by Forbes as one of the best centers in the country with cinemas, museums, art galleries, parks, retail and entertainment, and its largest area has experienced moderate growth in recent years.
In the early 20th century, Indianapolis was a major automaker, rivaling Detroit, and was a major regional transportation hub that earned it the nickname Crossroads of America. Many of the changes in Indianapolis's racial demographics that occurred as a result of segregation remained in effect well beyond the 1980s, according to Mullins. Mullins said the irony of gentrification in Indianapolis, which often uses the term historic to sell more houses and condos, is that it puts a price on blacks and omits that neighborhoods are historically black. There is a documented wealth gap between white and African-American families that could explain why these five areas adjacent to downtown are becoming whiter as income levels and home values rise, said Timothy Maher, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Indianapolis.
Indiana Avenue, once considered the Broadway of Black Indianapolis during the 1930s and 1940s, is an example. Since 1990, each decennial census report has revealed a decrease in the percentage and total number of white residents in Indianapolis. Nearly all of these neighborhoods are experiencing rapid gentrification and have been for some time, said Susan Hyatt, professor of anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. Indianapolis was chosen as the seat of the state capital in 1820 and, while most state capitals are chosen in the central area of the state, Indianapolis is the closest capital to being in the exact center of Indianapolis.
Discriminatory divides among Indianapolis residents continued to grow, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Mullins said. Population estimates released by the Census Bureau on Thursday reported that the African-American population of the Indianapolis metropolitan area now exceeds the 300,000 mark. Despite its slow growth, the entire state of Indiana is projected to grow 15% by 2050, with populations in counties surrounding Indianapolis expected to grow the most. The Indianapolis area was initially inhabited by the Native American tribes of Miami and Lenape (Delaware), who were displaced around 1820.
It's one of five growing Indianapolis neighborhoods trending in the opposite direction to Marion County overall, according to SAVI analysis. A speech by Robert Kennedy, in the city campaigning for president the night Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated, is believed to have saved Indianapolis from the riots that occurred across the United States.