INDIANAPOLIS — A think tank study says the growing number of Indianapolis residents living in poverty has nearly outpaced the city’s population increase since 2000.
The Indianapolis-based Sagamore Institute found that the number of Indianapolis residents living in poverty rose from 11.8 percent in 2000 to 21.3 percent in 2015 — an increase of more than 85,000 people, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported. The study found that the city population grew nearly 90,000 during that same 15-year period.
The study found that the annual median household income in the city fell from about $43,000 in 2010 to about $42,000 in 2015. About 30 percent of Indianapolis children were impoverished in 2015, the study found.
“We had no idea that the growth of poverty was almost outpacing our population growth,” said Troy Riggs, the think tank’s vice president. “That means we have an additional 85,000 people living in poverty struggling to make ends meet. They need help and assistance. Sometimes, people get lost in all the numbers. We forget we’re talking about human beings.”
City officials say the spike in poverty is likely due to automation in manufacturing and jobs moving to the suburbs.
“We have an industrial city that lost a lot of industry,” said Tim Nation, co-founder and executive director of the Peace Learning Center. “We have vast neighborhoods that were built around factories that are no longer there. We do have opportunities and jobs, but they’re in outlying communities and transportation has been a big issue.”
Mayor Joe Hogsett said he wants to spend as much energy helping current residents as he does attracting and retaining talent and new companies.
Hogsett said he hopes recent investments in neighborhoods and the city’s increased efforts to get underemployed people trained for better jobs will improve the situation.
Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, http://www.ibj.com