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SAVI Talks

SAVI Talks are data-informed conversations about the most pressing issues in our community.

Twice each year, SAVI Talks bring practitioners, researchers, and thought leaders together in a series of collaborative working sessions to discuss trends, share best practices, and brainstorm solutions related to the state’s most pressing areas of need.

WFYI Public Media has partnered with The Polis Center on SAVI Talks events since 2015.


Indianapolis Racial Equity Report Card

June 20, 9-11 a.m. (virtual)

The Indianapolis Racial Equity Report Card identifies racial disparities and inequities in several key areas affecting quality of life and our economy. This baseline report shines a light on areas for improvement and will allow us to track how we are doing as a community moving forward.

These important data can be used to shape programming, inform policy and planning, justify grants, and educate stakeholders working together to address the underlying drivers of these inequities and disparities.

Please join us on June 20 for the launch of the report card to learn how Indianapolis is doing on racial equity compared to its peers, and hear from panelists how this impacts our community.

Indianapolis skyline

Greenways Assessment of Marion County

April 20, 9-11 a.m. (virtual)

Greenspace is an important component of many cities, serving to improve quality of life. This presentation will demonstrate a new tool developed for SAVI, centered around greenspace in Marion County.

This tool will illustrate the areas which would benefit the most from targeted greenspace development.

We will discuss how we designed this tool, how to use it, and what we can learn from it moving forward to help improve the communities we live in.

Indianapolis skyline

Indianapolis Racial Equity Report Card

October 27, 2022

On October 27, the SAVI Talks event focused on the project, Indianapolis Racial Equity Report Card. This event was a bit different from others in that we wanted a community conversation about the outcomes that are important to measure as Indy holds itself accountable to creating a racially just and more equitable community. Racial disparities define daily life in Indianapolis, with racial segregation creating huge differences in life expectancy between neighboring communities. 

Indianapolis skyline

Who’s in Marion County Jails? Exploring Length of Stay through an Equity Lens

June 16, 2022

We examine inmate and booking data obtained from the Marion County Sheriff’s Officem exploring length of stay and the presence of mental health and substance use among Marion County Jail inmates, drawing attention to the characteristics of those with longer lengths of stay or charges that might merit alternative responses in the community or reduced jail time. We also examine racial disproportionalities within the jail, as half of inmate bookings in recent years are from the Black community, in comparison to the racial composition of Marion County, which is only 30% Black.

Indianapolis skyline

Worlds Apart: An Update on Gaps in Life Expectancy in Central Indiana

August 26, 2021

IU Fairbanks School of Public Health and The Polis Center partner to analyze gaps in life expectancy across communities. We will see which  communities gained or lost life expectancy over a 10-year span (prior to COVID-19), and we’ll compare life expectancy at different ages across the life course to see how patterns differ.

Indianapolis skyline

Equity in Aging

April 22, 2021

Older adults face inequities from the actions of individuals and organizations, and at institutional and systemic levels. These inequities are based on, but not limited to, differences in age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, and socioeconomic status and class. 

Indianapolis skyline
Indianapolis skyline

Equity in Economic Opportunity

March 25, 2021

Building on research by Harvard’s Raj Chetty and his team, we are developing new insights and highlighting finding about opportunity in Indianapolis neighborhoods.

The income of the family you’re born into makes a big difference in how much you will earn as an adult. But race and neighborhood factors play a large role, too.

Health and Economic Impacts of Covid-19 on Neighborhoods

October 2020

SAVI created a COVID-19 Impact Index. This describes the impact in a ZIP code and its underlying risk in terms of health and the economy. We used indicators like confirmed Covid-19 cases, unemployment claims, and rental assistance applications to measure the impact of the pandemic on neighborhoods. We used the presence of underlying health conditions and socioeconomic conditions to measure a neighborhood’s vulnerability.

The results show that the hardest hit ZIP codes were 46222 on the west side, 46218 near Martindale Brightwood, and 46226 on the northeast side. Some groups are more likely to live in a high-impact ZIP code, including people of color, people living in poverty, and people with a disability. 

Getting Groceries: Food Access Across Groups, Neighborhoods, and Time

November 2019

208,000 people live in food deserts in Indianapolis, an increase since 2016. This was driven somewhat by the closure of Marsh stores. However, there are more grocery stores now (200) than in 2016 (199). These stores tend to be located near each other, and so provide access to less area and fewer people. People without cars are heavily impacted. Three-in-ten households without a car live in transit food deserts, where grocery stores are not easily accessible by bus.

The Changing Landscape of Poverty

June 2019

The poverty rate in Central Indiana has risen from 9% in 1970 to 14% in 2017, but the rates vary widely by neighborhood. How is poverty changing at the local level? Who is most affected by these changes?

Historically, poverty has been highest in core urban neighborhoods where, in 1970, one in six residents lived in poverty. Now that number is one in three. Poverty has grown the fastest in middle-ring suburbs where the rate has quadrupled from 5% in 1970 to 20% in 2017. Meanwhile, some neighborhoods, such as those built since 2000, have had consistently low rates of poverty and have experienced very little change in those rates..

Where Schools are Changing

November 2018

Regionally, schools are becoming more racially diverse, have a growing share of low-income students, and have increasing graduation rates. Low-income student population is falling in central Indianapolis and growing in Marion County’s townships, pointing to a growing number of low-income families living in first-ring suburbs. Schools experiencing similar change tend to be grouped geographically, with rapidly changing schools in more urban areas, and those holding steady in racial and income change located in more suburban and rural areas.

Neighborhood Change Across the Indianapolis Region

June 2018

Neighborhoods are changing rapidly as changing demand for housing and quality of life drive a return to the city-center. The June 2018 SAVI Talk and Community Trends Report will focus on that change. How do we measure it? Where is it occuring? And most importantly, who is it affecting.

Who Rides the Bus: Marion County Transit Ridership

September 2017

This research combines information from the recent IndyGo survey with a variety of neighborhood socio-economic factors from the SAVI community information system to better understand how and why certain groups of riders used the service.  The report provides general audiences with an informed geographic approach to transit to see how place plays into the equation.

Unequal Access: Tobacco
Retailer Density

June 2017

This research explores how health, economic, demographic factors relate to tobacco retail density. We find that tobacco retailers are concentrated in areas with higher poverty, higher proportions of people of color, and lower educational attainment. These areas also have higher maternal smoking rates and estimated adult smkoing rates.

The Affordable Housing Market and Why It Matters

November 2016

Indianapolis is routinely recognized as one of the more affordable regional housing markets in the nation. This relative affordability lies within the eye of the beholder as Indianapolis also fares relatively poorly in income inequality. To many low-and moderate-income households, the housing of their choice may be out of reach. The central theme of the report: affordable housing encompasses a broader range of economic issues than the price of a home.

IndyVitals: Citywide
Impact Dashboard

June 2016

Indianapolis is routinely recognized as one of the more affordable regional housing markets in the nation. This relative affordability lies within the eye of the beholder as Indianapolis also fares relatively poorly in income inequality. To many low-and moderate-income households, the housing of their choice may be out of reach. The central theme of the report: affordable housing encompasses a broader range of economic issues than the price of a home.

Trends in Crime: Does Perception Match Reality?

September 2015

Although we see and hear about the horrible crimes committed every day in both local and national news, crime rates across the United States have decreased dramatically over the past two decades. Overall, crime rates in Marion County are at the lowest level since 2007. However, this improvement is uneven. Violent crime rates have actually risen, and crime is four times higher in high-crime neighborhoods than in low-crime areas.

Worlds Apart: Gaps in
Life Expectancy in the
Indianapolis Metro Area

July 2015

Residents of a Hamilton County suburb have an average life expectancy that is 14 years higher than the life expectancy of residents closer to downtown Indianapolis – 83.7 years compared to just 69.4 years. Research conducted by the Fairbanks School of Public Health found that in the metro Indianapolis community with the lowest life expectancy in the survey area, a baby born today is likely to live only as long as a baby born in the United States more than 60 years ago.