About the Data

How the Indicators Were Chosen

IndyVitals provides over 50 indicators of neighborhood health and sustainability. The indicators were selected using the STAR Community Rating System framework as a guide. The list was vetted and modified by an advisory committee made up of partners, stakeholders, and community organizations.

The 50 indicators cover the following 8 categories from the STAR rating system:

Category Description
Built Environment Quality, Choice & Access Where We Live, Work & Play
Climate & Energy Increase Efficiency, Reduce Impact
Economy & Jobs Quality Jobs, Shared Prosperity
Education Education, Arts, & Community - Vibrant, Connected & Diverse Culture
Equity & Empowerment Inclusion & Access for All Community Members
Health & Safety Strong, Resilient & Safe
Natural Systems Protect & Restore the Resources of Life

See below for a complete list of indicators.

How the Neighborhood Areas are Defined

IndyVitals measures the health and stability of 99 communities in Marion County, Indiana.

Each of the 99 communities were created by grouping individual neighborhoods and subdivisions into larger geographies called "neighborhood areas." These were defined by the City of Indianapolis in order to:

  • Have distinct geographic areas for statistical reporting purposes,
  • Encourage better coordination of public and private initiatives in those areas through a common set of indicators in order to align diverse planning partners toward a common goal, and
  • Better organize municipal government using common "building blocks" of neighborhood geographies.

The geographies are bigger than individual neighborhoods because many data sources are simply not available for small geographies. Also, there are nearly 500 self-defined neighborhood associations across Marion County registered with the City’s Registered Community Organization system, many with overlapping boundaries. Grouping neighborhoods together also allows for a more manageable number and eliminates the challenge of overlapping boundaries that would obscure our goal of telling a consistent story through data.

When drawing the boundaries, the City of Indianapolis gave consideration to historical maps; excluded city and included town boundaries; parcel and land use development patterns; major barriers like rivers, railroads, and interstates; and self-defined boundaries of community organizations. Boundaries follow parcel borders or street center lines.

SAVI Community Profiles

The SAVI community profile link provides access to additional data about the neighborhood on www.savi.org. Because of the varying methods used to calculate statistics for the neighborhoods in IndyVitals, the statistics reported in the community profile might not match exactly with the statistics reported in IndyVitals for a given neighborhood.

How the Data are Calculated

The data for IndyVitals comes from multiple data sources, with the SAVI Community Information System (www.savi.org) being the primary source. Multiple methods are used to calculate data for the neighborhood boundaries:

  • When possible, address-level data are used to obtain an exact count or value of the item being measured.
  • For other data, the statistics were obtained by assigning census tracts and parcel boundaries to approximate each neighborhood boundary.
  • When counts are used (e.g., population), the block boundaries are used to approximate the neighborhood boundary.

List of Indicators in IndyVitals

The following is a list of indicators tracked in IndyVitals. See Data Documentation for more details..

Category

Indicator

Data Definition

Why It Is Important

Data Source

Overview Statistics

Population

The total population

The total population count often underlies other metrics. It can be used to give relative proportions between areas.

U.S. Census Bureau (2010 Census)

Overview Statistics

Population Density

The number of people residing per one acre of land

Indicates relative population density, which is often related to demand and supply of neighborhood retail establishments and public services like libraries, schools, and transit.

U.S. Census Bureau (2010 Census)

Overview Statistics

Income Density

The concentration of income per person in a given area. Calculated as (Population Count X Per Capita Income)/Acre

This metric describes the per-person concentration of income in a given area and can be used to approximate an area’s "buying power" for basic goods like groceries. It is correlated with population density. Even if there are lower incomes, the more people there are, the more buying power the area may have.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

Overview Statistics

Land Value Density

The taxable gross assessed value per acre of land.

Indicates relative assessed land values by parcel size in a given area. This measure allows for comparison of property values regardless of the size of parcels.

Indiana Department of Local Government Finance via SAVI Community Information System

Overview Statistics

Median Age

The median age of the population; the age at which half of the population in the area is older and half is younger. Weighted Average of Component Tracts

Median age indicates the "middle" age of an area, with half of the people younger than that age and the other half older than it. Age is often related to consumer preferences and needs for services. For example, areas with lower median ages might be an indication there are lots of families with children in the neighborhood.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

Overview Statistics

People of Color

Percent of population that is not "non-Hispanic Caucasian"

This metric describes the racial and ethnic diversity of a given area.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

Overview Statistics

Median Household Income

The median income of households; the amount at which half of the households in the area have more income and half have less income. Weighted Average of Component Tracts.

Median income indicates the generally "average" income in an area. It is one of the most common indicators of economic status of an area.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Housing Density (Units per Acre)

The number of housing units per acre of residential land

Shows the relative density of housing units in a given area. Increased housing density may be correlated with other features of the built environment, including walkability, employment density, and transportation choice.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Employment Density (Jobs per Acre)

Jobs per acre of commercial property

Shows the relative density of jobs in a neighborhood. This indicator is one indicator of how diverse land uses are in an area.

Census Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) and LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES)

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Resident Employment in Neighborhood

Percent of residents employed in their own neighborhood

People employed in their own neighborhood are more likely to have shorter commutes which they may make by bicycling, walking, or public transportation.

US Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) and LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES)

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Unimproved Residential Properties

The percentage of land in a given area that is designated as residential, but does not have an associated dwelling.

On one hand, vacant residential land means there is still opportunity for new investment in housing in an area. On the other, if the vacancy is due to abandonment and subsequent demolition, this indicator can be a measurement of neighborhood distress.

Indiana Department of Local Government Finance

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Tax Delinquent Properties

The percentage of properties in an area that are listed as tax delinquent properties (either tax sale or surplus).

Tax delinquency is a measure of property market stress. It may mean that property owners are having trouble paying taxes, or it may mean properties are being abandoned.

Marion County Treasurer

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Surplus Properties

Percent of total properties that are on the surplus list of the Marion County Treasurer. Surplus properties are tax-delinquent properties that failed to sell at a tax sale and are effectively owned by the Treasurer.

Surplus properties are considered the most distressed properties because original property owners failed to pay property taxes and they also failed to sell at subsequent tax sales.

Marion County Treasurer

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Tax Sale Properties

Percent of total properties which are available for tax sale. Properties are eligible for tax sale when their owners fail to make two consecutive property tax payments.

Tax sales are an indicator of market stress, either because a property owner is not able to afford payments or because properties are in the process of abandonment.

Marion County Treasurer

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Walkability (Average Walk Score)

Average walk score. This metric gives an impression of how "walkable" an address or area is based on the presence of sidewalks, frequency of intersections, destinations, and public transportation, among other factors.

Walkability is important to the health and wellbeing of residents and is also related to the desirability of areas for many demographic groups, particularly younger generations. It is also important to the inclusiveness of a community to persons with disabilities and to the ability to support storefront-type retail.

www.walkscore.com

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Housing Cost Burdened

Percent of tenants and homeowners paying more than 30% of combined household income on housing costs - either rent or mortgage - and associated housing payments (including insurance and utilities).

The conventional public policy indicator of housing affordability in the United States is the percent of income spent on housing. Widespread reported housing expenditures in excess of 30 percent of household income may indicate a housing affordability problem.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Median Assessed Value

Median assessed value of all properties with reported assessed value. The median assessed value is the value at which half of the properties in an area have a higher value, and half have a lower value.

The assessed value of a property is the appraised property value listed for ad valorem tax purposes, or "according to value" tax. This indicator provides information on relative housing values in a given area.

Indiana Department of Local Government Finance via SAVI Community Information System

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Vacancy Rate

The proportion of units which are vacant in an area.

The number of vacancies in an area can indicate that there are residencies are available for prospective buyers. However, this value also includes foreclosures as well as houses that may be in the process of abandonment.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Properties with Park Access

Percentage of parcels that are within ¼ mile of a park

Residential and commercial areas with easy access to parks and open space are often more desirable than areas without that access, especially for families. Parks are important "third places" that facilitate neighborhood socialization and also provide important public health benefits.

IndyGIS

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Non-car Work Commuters

Percentage of workers (age 16 and up) who do not use or ride in an automobile as their primary means of transportation to work.

This value measures active transportation modes, such as walking, bicycling, or public transportation use. Active transportation has important public health and environmental quality benefits.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Properties with Greenway Access

The percentage of parcels that are within ¼ mile of a greenway or system of trails.

Greenways provide important recreational opportunities for residents while also serving a transportation function by connecting neighborhoods with active transportation.

IndyGIS

ECONOMY & JOBS

Jobs

The total number of jobs in an area, both filled and open

This is an indicator of the relative concentration of economic activity in an area.

Census Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) and LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES)

ECONOMY & JOBS

Unemployment Rate

Proportion of the population, age 16 and up, who are unemployed

Unemployment is an indicator of economic stress for a population or area. Employment is highly correlated to income and economic opportunity.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

ECONOMY & JOBS

Labor Force Participation

The labor force participation rate represents the proportion of the population that is in the labor force (either employed or actively seeking employment)

Labor force represents the available supply of workers. Areas with a low participation rate often means that people who could be working have stopped looking for employment, which is often the case during economic recessions or in areas of chronic unemployment.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

ECONOMY & JOBS

Per capita Income

Per capita income is the mean income per person for a given area.

Per-capita income is one measure of wealth in an area. If all income earned in an area is added up and distributed equally to every man, woman, and child, this would be the per-capita income.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

ECONOMY & JOBS

Post-High School Degree

The percent of people who earned an associate’s degree or higher degree

Lifetime incomes and overall life outcomes are highly correlated to educational attainment. In addition, educational attainment is a critical economic development factor in growing high-quality jobs.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

EDUCATION

Reading Proficiency (3rd Grade)

Percent of third grade students at traditional public or charter schools passing English/ Language Arts portion of ISTEP

This indicator is one measure of academic achievement and school performance and is viewed by many as an early indicator of future student educational performance.

Indiana Department of Education

EDUCATION

Quality Seats (Access)

The percentage of families with school-aged children within one mile of an A or B traditional public or charter school.

This indicator shows how many students in the neighborhood have walkable access to a high quality school (graded A or B by the Indiana Department of Education). This measure looks at educational quality from the "demand side" of education by answering the question "how many families in this neighborhood live near a high quality school?"

Indiana Department of Education

EDUCATION

Quality Schools (Accountability)

The percentage of students in a neighborhood enrolled in an A or B traditional public or charter school (the school must be within the neighborhood boundary)

This indicator measures school quality by counting the "supply side" of education. It measures the percentage of high-quality school seats available in schools located in the neighborhood. It answers the question "how many high-quality seats are available in schools in this neighborhood?"

Indiana Department of Education

EDUCATION

High School Graduation Rate

The percentage of students at traditional public or charter schools graduating high school on time (in 4 years)

Lifetime incomes and overall life outcomes are highly correlated to educational attainment. In addition, educational attainment is a critical economic development factor in growing high-quality jobs

Indiana Department of Education

EDUCATION

Access to Quality Pre-K

The percentage of families with children under five years old who live within a mile of a Path to Quality 3 or 4 Pre-K program.

Research shows that children in quality child care are more successful academically and in life.

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration via United Way of Central Indiana

EDUCATION

Library Utilization

The percent of the population with a library card.

Libraries provide multiple services to a community beyond book-lending, including educational programming and meeting facilities. Library card utilization gives an idea of how libraries are used within a neighborhood.

Indianapolis Public Library

EQUITY & EMPOWERMENT

Poverty Rate

Population with income below poverty level as % of population for whom poverty status is determined (based on 2010 blocks)

The percent of the population in poverty is a key indicator of the quality of life in an area.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

HEALTH & SAFETY

Violent Crime Rate

Number of violent crimes and simple assaults per 1,000 Population. Includes aggravated assault, simple assault, robbery, rape, attempted rape, and homicide.

The rate of violent crimes in an area is a significant indicator of public safety.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department via SAVI Community Information System

HEALTH & SAFETY

Juvenile Charge Rate

The number of charges involving crimes committed by minors, per 1,000 population under age 18.

Juvenile crime rates are often an indicator of stress or breakdown of the family unit and without intervention can be an indicator of future criminal activity.

Marion County Superior Court via SAVI Community Information System

HEALTH & SAFETY

Property Crime Rate

All property crimes for the year per 1,000 population. Property crimes include, among other crimes, burglary, larceny, theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, shoplifting, and vandalism.

Property crimes do not involve force or threat of force to an individual, but this metric is an indicator of public safety.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department via SAVI Community Information System

HEALTH & SAFETY

% Births with Low Birth Weight

The percentage of all live births where the baby weighs under 88 oz (5.5 lbs)

Low birth weight is a top cause of infant death; infant mortality reflects the overall state of maternal health as well as the quality and accessibility of primary health care available to pregnant women and infants.

Marion County Public Health Department via SAVI Community Information System

HEALTH & SAFETY

% Births where Prenatal Care Started in First Trimester

The percentage of all live births where mother began prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy

Starting prenatal care in the first trimester improves the health of mother and baby, and can decrease the potential for prenatal or infant death. Infant mortality reflects the overall state of maternal health as well as the quality and accessibility of primary health care available to pregnant women and infants.

Marion County Public Health Department via SAVI Community Information System

HEALTH & SAFETY

% Births to teen moms

The percentage of all live births where the mother was 19 years old or younger.

There are several potential economic and social consequences of teenage births, including higher school drop out rates and increased use of health care and foster care.

Marion County Public Health Department via SAVI Community Information System

HEALTH & SAFETY

Disabilities

The population with a disability as percentage of civilian noninstitutionalized total population.

Understanding where there are populations with disabilities helps identify areas of need for those who may have difficulty performing everyday tasks.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

HEALTH & SAFETY

Bicycle and Pedestrian Collisions (per 1,000 population)

The number of pedestrian-auto and bicycle-auto collisions per 1,000 population

Collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists are an important public safety issue that may indicate a lack of safe infrastructure or traffic control.

Indiana State Police via IU Public Policy Institute

HEALTH & SAFETY

Boarding Orders

The number of orders to board a property per 100 housing units.

Boarding orders are an indicator of neighborhood stress and are often a precursor to property abandonment.

Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement/Marion County Public Health Department

HEALTH & SAFETY

Mowing Orders

The number of orders to mow per 100 housing units.

Mowing orders are an indicator of property conditions and contribute to negative neighborhood perceptions.

Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement

HEALTH & SAFETY

Trash Orders

The number of trash orders per 100 housing units.

Housing occupants cannot store waste in a way that may constitute a fire, health, or safety hazard. Trash orders are an indicator of property conditions and contribute to negative neighborhood perceptions.

Marion County Public Health Department

HEALTH & SAFETY

Demolition Orders

The number of orders to demolish a property due to hazardous conditions per 100 housing units.

Demolition orders are an indicator of property conditions and contribute to negative neighborhood perceptions. Unsafe buildings are a clear detriment to public safety.

Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement/Marion County Public Health Department

HEALTH & SAFETY

Food Access

The percent of the population who reside less than a mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.

Consumer choices about food spending and diet are likely to be influenced by the accessibility and affordability of food retailers—travel time to shopping, availability of healthy foods, and food prices.

United States Department of Agriculture

HEALTH & SAFETY

Population without health insurance

Percent of the population without health insurance

Health insurance is a way of financing health care and can offset potentially expensive costs which could affect a family's economic well-being.

American Community Survey, Five-Year Averages, via SAVI Community Information System

NATURAL SYSTEMS

Permeable Surface (Water penetrable)

The percentage of land area that is pervious, meaning that water can pass through the land surface.

Impervious surfaces can increase the severity of rain and flood events by limiting the exposure water has with soil. Some consequences of too much impervious ground surface include land erosion and flooding.

Indianapolis Department of Public Works

NATURAL SYSTEMS

Tree Cover

The percentage of land with tree canopy coverage.

Sufficient tree canopy coverage has several positive impacts, such as improved air quality, decreased summer cooling costs, natural storm water drainage, and aesthetic value.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful