June 1, 2016

What Does Poverty Look Like In Indianapolis?

Brian Paul for WFYI

Brian Paul for WFYI

The number of people in Marion County living in poverty is a giant, indigestible number: about 194,000 people.

That’s the population of Evansville and Fishers combined.

That’s enough people to sell out Lucas Oil Stadium three times over.

That’s, simply, one out of every five county residents.

Any way you put it, one thing rings true: Indianapolis is among the 10 poorest cities in America.

For years, officials have poured money into developing chunks of the city, but on a larger scale, Indianapolis has struggled to get low-income individuals back on their feet — so much so, the number of residents in poverty has increased by nearly 90 percent in the past decade.

The number of individuals holding bachelor’s degrees in Indianapolis is stagnant. About 30 percent of people aren’t making more than $25,000 a year. Indy’s poor youth and Hispanic populations continue to grow at a disproportionally fast rate compared to the rest of the country.

In its Chasing the Dream series, WFYI explores these factors, and others, that drive poverty—including health crisis, lack of education, housing instability, job insecurity and hunger—and also examines what’s really working to lift up poor households in Indianapolis.

WFYI's poverty reporting is made possible through a grant from the Glick Fund, a CICF fund inspiring philanthropy.

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