Neighborhood Change Since 1970: Suburbanization, Gentrification, and Suburban Redevelopment

SAVI Talks - June 2018

While suburbanization and White flight led the White population to drop by 120,000 in Indianapolis’ core and early suburbs, gentrification has recently led to major cultural changes in some of these same neighborhoods.

Across the Indianapolis region, neighborhoods have experienced rapid cultural changes and shifting housing demand. Learn more in the Community Trends Report, Neighborhod Change Since 1970.

In June, we facilitated a community conversation about neighborhood-level demographic changes across the region from 1970 to today, exploring the trends of suburbanization, gentrification, and suburban redevelopment.

See How Your Neighborhood Has Changed

We’ve built an interactive tool to explore all the data we used in our research. Discover how the demographics of your neighborhood has changed over the past five decades.

Community Trends Report

New construction in Highland Park. Income for the average family in Highland Park/Cottage Home has gone up 68 percent from 2010-2016, while falling one percent across the region.

Matt Nowlin / The Polis Center

In the past fifty years, the 1970s and 2010s have been the fastest changing decades in terms of economic and demographic indicators. In the 1970s, suburbanization contributed to population loss and economic decline in urban areas.

Since 2010, many core Indianapolis neighborhoods have reversed these trends, growing wealthier, whiter, and more college-educated. Still, many have not experienced positive economic change. Half of Indianapolis residents live in neighborboohds with significant income declines over the past five decades. Read more…

Articles and Story Maps

Explore interactive content built on our neighborhood change research.

Income Inequality High Where Golden Hill and Northwest Indianapolis Converge

Income Inequality High Where Golden Hill and Northwest Indianapolis Converge

In the area where wealthy Golden Hills converges with the working-class neighborhoods of Northwest Indianapolis, income inequality is high and increasing. The area is also experiencing a growth of white households above the median income.

Changes in Indy’s Historic Black Neighborhoods

Changes in Indy’s Historic Black Neighborhoods

In the 1970s, 4,000 residents left this nearly all-black neighborhood. Why? An increasingly desegregated housing market and closure of one of the country’s first public housing projects.

Story Map: Moving Out – Suburbanization Since 1970

Story Map: Moving Out – Suburbanization Since 1970

Indianapolis and Anderson were the region's urban centers in 1970. Three-quarters of the population lived in those counties. Now, just over half the population live there, and Hamilton County is the second largest urban center.

Story Map: Race and Migration Since 1970

Story Map: Race and Migration Since 1970

In 1970, half of the region's Black population lived in 12 square miles north of downtown Indianapolis. As Black residents moved into '60s suburban communities, 120,000 White residents left the city's core for newer suburbs.


Kelly Davila,
Senior Research Analyst,
The Polis Center

Matt Nowlin,
Research Analyst,
The Polis Center

Unai Miquel Andres,
GIS and Data Analyst,
The Polis Center


Imhotep Adisa,
Executive Director, Kephrw Institute

Jeff Bennett,
Deputy Mayor for Community Development, Office of Mayor Joe Hogsett – City of Indianapolis

Meredith Brickell,
Associate Professor of Art at DePauw University and Project Leader for the House of Life Project

Chris Pryor,
Vice President of Government & Community Relations, Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors

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