Equity in Economic Opportunity

SAVI Talks - March 25, 2021

The income of the family you’re born into makes a big difference in how much you will earn as an adult. But, your race and the place your grow up also affect your economic opportunity.

Building on research by Harvard’s Raj Chetty and his team, we are developing new insights and highlighting findings about opportunity in Indianapolis neighborhoods. The average child born into a high-income family in Indianapolis earned $50,000 in household income when they were about 35. Children born to low-income families grew up to earn $27,000.

  • Indianapolis’ level of opportunity for low-income children is lower than all but two of the largest U.S. cities. Only Atlanta and Charlotte have worse outcomes than Indianapolis.
  • The average Black child born in Indianapolis earns $9,000 less than the average White child. There is a spatial disparity too: In many neighborhoods, children who grew up there earn less than $20,000 per year. In other neighborhoods, children born at the same income level grow up to earn $35,000 or more. 
  • Neighborhoods that are segregated clearly have lower opportunity outcomes for children. People born into Redlined neighborhoods have less economic opportunity, even when controlling for their parents’ income.


Community Trends Report

Coming March 25, 2021

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SAVI Talks Presentation

Articles and Story Maps

Explore other research and interactive content we have developed around equity.

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.

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Most neighborhoods match the educational diversity of our region, but those with less education are largely excluded from downtown and the northern suburbs, while they are relatively isolated in the southeast side and parts of Anderson.

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Sharon Kandris
Associate Director,
The Polis Center

Jay Colbert,
Data Manager,
The Polis Center

Jeramy Townsley,
Visiting Research Analyst,
The Polis Center

Matt Nowlin,
Research Analyst,
The Polis Center

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