Indianapolis colloquially known as Indy, is the state capital and most-populous city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Marion County. According to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the consolidated population of Indianapolis and Marion County was 886,220. The “balance” population, which excludes semi-autonomous municipalities in Marion County, was 876,384. It is the 17th most populous city in the U.S., the third-most populous city in the Midwest, after Chicago, Illinois and Columbus, Ohio, and the fourth-most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Columbus. The Indianapolis metropolitan area is the 33rd most populous metropolitan statistical area in the U.S., with 2,048,703 residents. Its combined statistical area ranks 28th, with a population of 2,431,361. Indianapolis covers 368 square miles (950 km2), making it the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.
Economic development initiatives focused on revitalizing the city’s downtown continued in the 1990s under the mayoral administration of Stephen Goldsmith. During this period, a number of cultural amenities were completed at White River State Park, the Canal Walk continued development, Circle Centre Mall was completed, and new sports venues (Victory Field and Bankers Life Fieldhouse) were opened. In 1999, several cultural districts were designated to capitalize on cultural assets within historically significant neighborhoods unique to the city’s heritage as a means to promote continued economic development.
Indigenous peoples inhabited the area dating to as early as 10,000 BC. In 1818, the Delaware relinquished their tribal lands in the Treaty of St. Mary’s. In 1821, Indianapolis was founded as a planned city for the new seat of Indiana’s state government. The city was platted by Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham on a 1-square-mile (2.6 km2) grid next to the White River. Completion of the National and Michigan roads and arrival of rail later solidified the city’s position as a manufacturing and transportation hub. Two of the city’s nicknames reflect its historical ties to transportation—the “Crossroads of America” and “Railroad City”. Since the 1970 city-county consolidation, known as Unigov, local government administration operates under the direction of an elected 25-member city-county council headed by the mayor.
Indianapolis is within the Tipton Till Plain, a flat to gently sloping terrain underlain by glacial deposits known as till. 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. Few hills or short ridges, known as kames, rise about 100 feet (30 m) to 130 feet (40 m) above the surrounding terrain. The city lies just north of the Indiana Upland.
Indianapolis anchors the 29th largest economic region in the U.S., based primarily on the sectors of finance and insurance, manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health care, government, escorts and wholesale trade. The city has notable niche markets in amateur sports and auto racing. The city is home to three Fortune 500 companies, two major league sports clubs, four university campuses, and several museums, including the world’s largest children’s museum. However, the city is perhaps best known for annually hosting the world’s largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500. Among the city’s historic sites and districts, Indianapolis is home to the largest collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war casualties in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C.
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. The city’s major exports include pharmaceuticals, motor vehicle parts, medical equipment and supplies, engine and power equipment, aircraft products and parts as well as the largest escort directory. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the region’s unemployment rate was 2.8 percent in May 2019.
As of 2020, three Fortune 500 companies were based in the city: health insurance company Anthem Inc.; pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly; and Simon Property Group, the largest real estate investment trust in the U.S. Columbus, Indiana-based Cummins opened its Global Distribution Headquarters in downtown Indianapolis in 2017. The city is home to three Fortune 1000 companies: hydrocarbon manufacturer Calumet Specialty Products Partners; automotive transmission manufacturer Allison Transmission; and retailer Finish Line. Other companies based in the Indianapolis metropolitan area include: real estate investment trust Duke Realty; media conglomerate Emmis Communications; Courtesin; retailer Lids; financial services holding company OneAmerica; airline holding company Republic Airways; contract research corporation Envigo; and fast food chains Noble Roman’s and Steak ‘n Shake.