To get a better feel for things, I went to the Census Bureau's Census Explorer website and found some mapping functions that make the data kind of painless.
I'll go ahead and apologize right now for the quality of the animations - its the best I can do with the programs I have. I also included crisper single versions of each map that appears in the animations.
The maps illustrate the data from the level of census tracks. For each map, I added a blue line that shows three sides of the downtown mile square; I-70, the split, and I-65.
So - let's start with median income. The data are from three Census years - 1990, 2000, and 2012.
|Animation of maps of Indianapolis-Marion County, Indiana, showing median household income by census track for 1990, 2000, and 2012.|
Here are the individual maps with a greater definition - click on one to maximize.
|Median Household Income - 1990|
|Median Household Income - 2000|
|Median Household Income - 2012|
|Animation of maps of Indianapolis-Marion County, Indiana, showing the percentage of households with incomes over $150,000 by census tract for 1990, 2000, and 2012.|
Looking at the trend for the wealthy, we see that the same pattern as before - things got better through the 90's, but were pretty tough through the 00's. However, between 2000 and 2012, downtown grew in the percentage of those with incomes over $150,000, unlike the rest of Marion County. The broader maps, showing the donut Counties, have a similar pattern to the bulk of Marion County - suggesting it is not mainly a migration out of Marion County, but rather a lowering of actual income.
Below are the three individual maps used in the animation.
|Percentage of Households with income over $150,000 - 1990|
|Percentage of Households with income over $150,000 - 2000|
|Percentage of Households with income over $150,000 - 2012|
The Census website mapping for the percentage of households below the poverty level only allowed for census years 2009 and 2012 - so it is a very condensed timeline.
|Animated maps of Indianapolis-Marion County, Indiana, showing the percentage of households with incomes below the poverty line by census tracts for 2009 and 2012.|
Between the two maps, we can see that things got worse for a lot of folks during those 3 years. The mile square was affected only slightly - but the ring around downtown, still inside Center Township, suffered great increases in poverty. All of the donut Townships saw increases in poverty, as well.
Here are the two individual maps.
|Percentage of Households below the poverty line - 2009|
|Percentage of Households below the poverty line - 2012|
Regardless of the causes, which are important to figure out, we can certainly see much more clearly that the entire City needs attention, not just the downtown area. While the thought that you can't be the suburb of nothing has a ring of truth to it, it is equally true that a downtown requiring a substantial, ongoing infusion of cash from an ever weakening surrounding base cannot long endure either.