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What’s Trending in the Near Westside Neighborhood

By Sharon Kandris, SAVI Director

The City of Indianapolis, IUPUI, and Lilly Endowment recently announced a $30 million investment to improve IUPUI and the Near Westside neighborhood (See IndyStar story by Erika Smith).  Some of the major improvements will include streetscapes, new bike lanes, and sidewalks – and turning New York Street and Michigan Road into two-way streets.  But how will this impact the neighborhood and its residents?  For one thing, it aligns with some of the goals the community established in its quality of life plan.

For the past few years, this neighborhood has been involved in a resident-driven process to define the neighborhood’s needs and assets, envision the future of the neighborhood, and develop a Quality of Life Plan that guides community development efforts toward its vision to be a great place to live and work.

In many ways, it is too early to measure the impact that those community development efforts have had on the community thus far – we will begin to see more positive trends in the data in the years to come.  In the meantime, here are a few of the successes that we can see.

Positive Trends in Near Westside in the past 5 years:

  • Crimes: The property crime rate dropped 16% from 2007 to 2012 in the Near Westside neighborhood and 24% in an area targeted for improvements.

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  • Health: The percent of births to teen moms continues to decrease, matching the county and national trend.

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  • Health: The percent of births that are at risk is dropping, while the county’s is increasing.

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  •  Education:
    • The percent of adults with no high school degree dropped from 36% in 2000 to 29% in 2011.
    • Education: More third graders are passing ISTEP. Ernie Pyle School 90 improved from 63% passing in 2007 to 83% in 2013.

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  • There was a spike in demolition permits in 2012 to 88 permits, indicative of community improvement effort

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Demographic and Socio-economic Trends:

  • The population dropped 8% from 2000 to 2010
  • 20% of the population is Hispanic (compared to 8% in 2000); 45% are African American
  • The median family income is about $31,000, which is $20,000 lower than Marion County’s
  • 3 out of 10 residents are in poverty
  • 1 out of 3 adults have no high school diploma
  • 1 out of 5 adults are unemployed
  • Approximately 35% of housing units are occupied by renters, 40% by owners, and 25% are vacant
  • The top 3 industries residents are employed in are health care/social assistance, retail, and manufacturing
  • The top 3 industries of the neighborhood job market include manufacturing, education, and health care/social assistance

View a more detailed description of changes in the Near Westside in the past decade in our full report.

Want more data about Near Westside and other neighborhoods?

Quality of life monitoring reports created by SAVI describe the trends over the past 5 to 10 years are available for 5 neighborhoods:

Near Westside

View similar reports for Crooked Crook, Near Eastside, Southeast, and West Indianapolis

SAVI provides interactive demographic and socio-economic profiles of neighborhoods and communities throughout Central Indiana.

Near Westside

View similar profiles for other neighborhoods

Want to know about another positive change happening in this community?  My next blog will look at Near Westside crime trends and share efforts to keep Near Westside youth out of the child welfare and justice systems.

It’s National Ice Cream Month!

Ice Cream Infographic by SAVI2


View the interactive infographic HERE.

Don’t reinvent the wheel when telling your stories

The Changing Demographics of the foreign-born Population in America and Indiana

By Jay Colbert, GIS Project Manager, The Polis Center at IUPUI

We recently came across these interesting maps created by the Pew Research Center showing the changing demographics of the foreign-born population in America. Several media outlets featured these fascinating maps where Pew compared the biggest sources of immigrants into each state in the U.S. from 1910 and 2010 census.

1 2   3   mexico_germany31 Source: Pew Research Center

You’ll notice that many states had a majority of their immigrant population coming from Germany prior to 1965.  This was partly because of a series of laws that were passed in the early 20th century that set quotas on entrants by country which effectively banned immigration from all places except Western Europe and Latin America.  These laws were repealed by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which gave us essentially the system that is still in use today. By 2010 Mexico dominated as the country sending the most immigrants to the U.S except for a handful of states, mostly in the northeast.

Pew’s maps prompted us to take an in-depth look at Indiana immigration through the years.

Here’s what we found:

We saw a similar trend in Indiana to the national trend. The maps for 1970 show that Germany and United Kingdom dominated as the most common country of origin.  Moving through time to 2012 by decade brings us to a map dominated by Mexico and Asian countries other than China and Japan. Indiana_1970_2012_Immigration_Animation We took an even more detailed look at Central Indiana by township which revealed some really interesting results.   Sure, in 2012 it seems like Mexico was the dominant country for the foreign born population, however it’s also fascinating to see countries from around the globe such as Vietnam, Pakistan, Columbia, Haiti, Japan, Ghana, and three townships where the largest number of immigrants were born in Ukraine. 4 Pew also reports that net migration from Mexico has slowed dramatically in recent years and perhaps has even reversed some.

How do YOU think this map will look like in the future? Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us!


Indiana Association of United Ways launches Community Report Card powered by SAVI

By Sharon Kandris, Director, Community Informatics, The Polis Center

We’re delighted to share that we have launched a new tool that allows nonprofits and community-based organizations throughout Indiana to easily access important data and make informed decisions for the communities they serve. Indiana Impact is an on-line, interactive Community Report Card that is powered by SAVI and was developed by The Polis Center for the Indiana Association of United Ways.

The site was developed with guidance from an advisory group of United Way leaders from around the state in order to support the data needs of local United Ways, nonprofits, and community leaders. The site is useful for identifying community needs, identifying successes, and informing community and organizational strategies.


The community report card provides a quick snapshot of how a community is doing in the areas of health, education, and income.  You can view 35 indicators about the community and learn:

  • Has the community gotten better or worse over time?
  • How does that trend compare to the state’s trend?
  • How does the community compare to other communities?
  • How does the community compare to the state?

In addition to the overview, you can drill down into each indicator to explore:

  • A timeline chart shows how the community and state have changed over the past few years
  • A data table provides the numbers behind the report card – including counts and rates.
  • A bar chart compares how sub-areas within the community fare on that indicator
  • A map shows if and where there are sub-areas more impacted than others for that indicator.

The data are presented by county or aggregated for those United Ways serving multiple counties.

To access the data for Central Indiana, you can view the Community report Card all of United Way of Central Indiana‘s service area or specific to each of the counties served:  BooneHamiltonHancock, HendricksMarion and Morgan counties.

You also can access data for any United Way service area or any county in Indiana.  We invite you to explore the new tool at and share your feedback with us.


Domestic Violence in Marion County

By Sharon Kandris, Director, SAVI Community Information System

Given the recent high-profile domestic violence cases in the news this month, it is very timely to recognize the importance of organizations like the Domestic Violence Network that work to end domestic violence through education and advocacy.  To that end, The Polis Center recently partnered with Domestic Violence Network (DVN) to analyze data from the criminal justice system to gain a better understanding of the state of domestic violence in the county.  DVN released the report today.

Below are a few highlights of the findings from this report.  I focus on demographics of victims and perpetrators here, but the report provides data on many other aspects of domestic violence.

1. In 2011, there were an estimated 10,687 victims of domestic violence (1.5% of the population) and 9,962 perpetrators involved in the criminal justice system.

It is important to note this is not a complete count of domestic violence victims; it is a count based only on data about those that are involved in the criminal justice system – an important distinction.  Preliminary data suggests the 2012 counts will be closer to the 2010 numbers (13,748 victims and 10,605 perpetrators).

 2. Victims are predominantly females aged 20 to 24, and victims are predominantly males aged 25 to 29.

The age pyramids below shows the number of males verses females in each 5-year age increment. Compared to the age and gender distribution of victims and perpetrators for the county, the population involved in domestic violence is much younger. 79% of victims are females, and 80% of perpetrators are males.

age pyramid

3. African Americans are disproportionately represented among domestic violence victims and perpetrators. 

African Americans make up 27% of the general population but 45% of domestic violence victims and 47% of perpetrators. Caucasians make up 63% of the general population but only 51% of domestic violence victims and 44% of perpetrators. The charts below compare the racial composition of domestic violence victims and perpetrators to the racial composition of the general population.


4. Domestic violence rates are highest in Center, Wayne, and Decatur Townships – and in low-income neighborhoods.

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Using SAVI, we created at a more detailed map showing that low-income neighborhoods have a higher reported incidence of domestic violence than middle- and upper-income areas. The red areas on the map below highlight the low-income census tracts. The tracts with the darker shades of blue are areas with higher domestic violence rates, which closely align with the low-income areas.

map5. There is so much more in the report about domestic violence in Marion County.

Here’s what else you can learn from the report:

  • How has domestic violence changed over time?
  • What are the legal outcomes of domestic violence cases – such as how many cases result in charges and how many cases are dismissed?
  • How many charges against perpetrators are felonies vs. misdemeanors?
  • How many people are filing for protective orders and what are their demographics?
  • Have domestic violence perpetrators been convicted of other crimes?
  • How many victims, perpetrators, and victim-perpetrator pairs have been involved in repeat incidents of domestic violence?

You can access the full report here.


Data Sources:

The analysis looks at victims and perpetrators across four data sources: The Julian Center, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, and Indiana Supreme Court.

Our takeaways from the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) Conference

By Jay Colbert, GIS Project Manager, The Polis Center at IUPUI

“Are there SAVIs in other cities?” is a question that I get occasionally, and the answer is certainly yes. Many community and neighborhood organizations are part of a netowrk called the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP). NNIP is a collaboration of the Urban Institute and local partners in 35 cities to further the development and use of neighborhood-level information systems for community building and local decision-making.  Not all partners have a robust community information system like SAVI, but they are all committed to the electronic dissemination of neighborhood-level information for improved decision-making.

NNIP hosts meetings twice a year in rotating partner cities to strengthen the peer learning network and advance the agenda of the network.  Earlier this month I attended the spring meeting that was held in St. Louis, Mo.  Here is a map of the current partner cities.


Here are some takeaways from NNIP in general and the St Louis meeting in particular.

The Unconference format is a great way to go

If you are planning a large meeting or small conference, consider the “Unconference” or “Camp” format.  In this type of conference, attendees set the agenda by proposing session topics and then attendees are free to choose which sessions to attend and even come and go until they find the right session.

Lots of technology

NNIP partners use a myriad of technology solutions.  The partners come from many different types of organizations such as universities (like us), governmental agencies, foundations, and standalone nonprofits.  It’s a hotbed of activity for open-source software with many partners utilizing and sharing their successes during the gathering.

We learned about “Rebound Neighborhoods”

I’m always harping on people to put their data into context.  One way of doing that is to make a time series chart and then compare to other neighborhoods.  People in St. Louis crafted an index of commonly used socio-economic variables by decade from 1980-2010 and then identified those that have improved, or rebounded.  Their next step is to identify some factors that might be leading to these rebounds.

Many cities are working on Integrated Data Systems (IDS)

An IDS takes data from many different administrative sources and combines them in a way to allow tracking of individuals and their outcomes.  For example, children’s standardized test scores can be matched with their Medicaid status, allowing for research into social determinants of educational success.

Strategic Communications are important

Increasingly, NNIP partners are embracing social media and increasing efforts to work with journalists and attract publicity.  Partner cities spend vast amounts of time on data acquisition and analysis, but we also need to be just as good and tireless at sharing that work with the largest audience possible.

Keep an eye out in October for another blog covering takeaways from the NNIP meeting in Denver.

Why do community assessment?

Demetrius Glover PicBy Demetrius Glover,  Director of Research and Information Resources, United Way of Central Indiana


Data analysis can dispel conventional wisdom and popular notions concerning community issues.

It is important to do community assessments to understand your community through data in order to determine the needs of your target population, the resources available to them and the gaps in the delivery of services.

Clear goals, aligned strategy, and meaningful measurement remain essential to increase the return on investment of staff, financial, and volunteer resources in order to “Move the needle” in our community.

A well done community assessment can allow you to make data informed decisions so that you can strategically invest resources and measure success.

Please join us on April 16th from 1 pm to 3 pm for an informative workshop on using SAVI to do community assessments.  This workshop will employ lessons learned from our 2008 United Way Community Assessment, 2013 Hancock County Assessment, 2013 Hunger Assessment in Hancock County, and ongoing assessment efforts.

For more information go to 4 and register for SAVI level 4: Topic-Based Workshops – Community Assessments: Getting the BIG PICTURE and little picture with Data.

2014 Governor’s Conference on Service & Nonprofit Capacity Building

Mark your calendar and plan to join us Oct. 1-2 at IUPUI Campus Center for 2014 Governor’s Conference.

savedate Gov Confvfinal 240KB



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