10 Unbiased Pros & Cons of Living in Indianapolis

Living in Indianapolis - 900

You’re considering relocating to Indianapolis, maybe because of a job, fr family, or simply because you want a change of scene. But then you realize you don’t have all the information you need to make such a huge decision. Read on to find out the pros and cons of moving to this city to help you make a well-informed decision. 

Population Median Age Bachelor Degree or Higher
864,447 34.230.90%
Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

#1. Pro: the cost of living in Indianapolis is below the USA average 

The cost of living in the city is 8% lower than the national average, making it one of the more affordable places to live in the country. The cost of living typically varies from place to place based on your career, your average salary, and the real estate market. Some of the things that contribute to the cost of living include transport costs, utilities, and rent.

Indianapolis Median Home Price in October 2021
Median Home Price
Data sourced from Zillow Median Home Sale Prices

Indianapolis Median Cost of Utilities in October 2021
Utilities (Monthly)Prices
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment$170.14
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)$67.52
Data sourced from Numbeo.com

Indianapolis Median Cost of Transportation in October 2021
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)$1.75
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)$60.00
Gasoline (1 gallon) $2.42
Data sourced from Numbeo.com

Indianapolis Median Cost of Groceries in October 2021
Milk (regular), (1 gallon)$2.47
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)$1.93
Rice (white), (1 lb) $1.41
Eggs (regular) (12)$1.48
Local Cheese (1 lb)$3.80
Chicken Fillets (1 lb)$3.43
Beef Round (1 lb) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)$4.94
Banana (1 lb)$0.88
Tomato (1 lb)$1.86
Potato (1 lb)$1.38
Onion (1 lb)$1.28
Lettuce (1 head)$1.40
Water (1.5-liter bottle)$1.42
Data sourced from Numbeo.com

#2. Con: poor air quality in the city

The air quality in Indianapolis recently failed to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for both annual PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) and ozone, two of the country’s most dangerous and pervasive air pollutants. While ozone levels in the city have long wavered, they’ve been on the rise since 2015. The city’s PM2.5 levels, on the other hand, only crossed the allowed federal limits in 2019 after a decade of attainment. 

Ozone is one of the most poorly controlled air pollutants in the U.S. and one of the most life-threatening. When inhaled, it aggressively targets the lungs by reacting with the lung tissue. Inhaling even small levels of ozone can potentially trigger breathing issues, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain, as well as long-term issues such as lung damage, lung cancer, and lung cancer.

Indianapolis typically experiences an average of 6 annual “unhealthy” ozone days. According to a State of the Air report that collected data from 229 metropolitan areas, the city ranked 44th for worst ozone nationally. For PM2.5, Indianapolis had several days reaching “unhealthy” levels. Of the most polluted cities in Indiana for PM2.5, Indianapolis ranked second.

#3. Pro: the economy has seen extensive growth

Compared to the Indiana state, Indianapolis has a lower concentration of manufacturing jobs and a higher proportion of jobs in wholesale trade; support, administrative, and waste management; transportation and warehousing; and professional, scientific, and technical services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Indianapolis stood at 2.8% in May 2019.

Healthcare, biotechnology, and life sciences are significant sectors in the Indianapolis economy. The city’s central location and its extensive highway and rail infrastructure have positioned it as a crucial logistics center home to over 1,500 distribution firms employing over 100,000 workers. The hospitality industry is another increasingly important sector to the city’s economy, generating $5.4 billion in 2017.

#4. Con: crime in the city is on the rise 

According to NeighborhoodScout, Indianapolis has a crime rate of 51 per one thousand residents,  which is one of the highest crime rates in the U.S. Depending on where you live, your chance of becoming a victim of either violence or property crime in the city is 1 in 20. When comparing Indianapolis to other similarly sized communities, the city’s crime rate (combining violent and property crime) is higher than average. 

The violent crime rate in Indianapolis is one of the highest in the country. The violent offenses tracked included armed robbery, aggravated assault (including assault with a deadly weapon), murder and non-negligent manslaughter, and rape. Your chance of becoming a victim of one of these atrocities in the city is 1 in 80. Property crime is also prevalent in the city – your chance of falling to this crime is 1 in 26 (38% per one thousand population). Property crimes tracked included burglary, arson, motor vehicle theft, and larceny over fifty dollars.

#5. Pro: getting around in Indianapolis is easy

Living in Indianapolis - 900
Indianapolis, IN, U.S. (Sourced: via twenty20)

Indianapolis is served by four Interstates that intersect the city: Interstate 65, Interstate 69, Interstate 70, and Interstate 74. There are two auxiliary interstate highways in the metropolitan area: a connector (Interstate 865) and a beltway (Interstate 465). These allow for easy access to make your way to other destinations in the Midwest. 

While Uber and Lyft have become widely popular nationwide, Indianapolis has launched its own companies that promote ride-sharing and reduce dependency on car ownership. Companies such as Blue Indy, a car rideshare program, aim to make it easier for people to get around the city without driving.

Median Indianapolis Commuting Time Median U.S. Commuting Time
23.6 Minutes26.9 Minutes
Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

#6. Con: the public transportation system could use some improvement

Living in Indianapolis - 900
Indianapolis, skyline behind an abandoned railroad track (Sourced: via twenty20)

The Indianapolis transportation infrastructure comprises a complex network that includes a local bus system, Amtrak passenger rail service via the Cardinal, several private intercity bus providers, and a bike-share system.

According to data collected in 2016 by American Community Survey, 83.7% of workers in the city commuted by driving on their own, 8.4% carpooled, 1.5% used public transportation, 1.5% used other forms of transportation (motorcycle, taxicab, and bicycle), and 1.8% walked. As opposed to public transport, the reliance on automobiles could be attributed to the fact that IndyGo has limited stops the further you travel from the city’s downtown area. Indianapolis is working towards expanding public transit, but for now, the best way to get around if you live outside downtown is by driving.

#7. Pro: the weather can be quite pleasant

Summers in Indianapolis can be pleasantly warm, with plenty of sunshine and minimal rain. However, it can get a little humid, especially in July and August, so keep that in mind. Spring and autumn are typically pleasant, but they are more unpredictable, with temperatures and weather patterns fluctuating throughout the day.

Indianapolis Temperature Table

MonthTemp. Low. Avg.Temp. High Avg.
Data sourced from numbeo.com – October 2021

#8. Con: winters can be brutal

Living in Indianapolis - 900
Indianapolis, IN (Sourced: via twenty20)

Winter in Indianapolis can be brutal. Between the snow and freezing temperatures, it will take you a little longer to get from one point to another from November through February. Make sure you invest in boots and a winter jacket to help you stay warm during this season.

#9. Pro: plenty of neighborhood options

Indianapolis neighborhoods may not have too many distinctions from each other, but they have plenty to offer especially if you’re a new resident. Some great options include:

  1. Downtown indianapolis
Indianapolis, IN (Sourced: via twenty20)

Downtown is filled with high-rise buildings that contain trendy luxury apartments. These units will cost you a pretty penny to rent, but the trade-off is the easy access to a wide variety of hotspots that are within walking distance. You can stroll to museums, the White River, or even enjoy a cocktail with friends at Ball & Biscuit. For some fine dining, you will love Harry and Izzy’s, which is a hit with both locals and tourists. 

  1. Fountain Square

Are you looking for a more small-town feel in this sprawling metropolitan area? Then Fountain Square may be the neighborhood for you. Perched southeast of downtown and Interstate 70 and Interstate 65, it is the place to be if you’re looking for an artsy feel in the city. You’ll find the Murphy Art Center here. Virginia Avenue is filled with local restaurants offering an impressive variety of cuisines, and it is within walking distance. 

  1. Bates Hendricks

Bates-Hendricks is currently undergoing an overhaul, with young professionals gravitating towards the neighborhood over the past couple of years to take advantage of the reasonably priced homes and affordable living costs. Located just east of the downtown area and conveniently bordered by Interstate 70 and Interstate 65, living in this increasingly popular neighborhood allows for easy interstate access, as well as a short downtown commute. There are also plenty of bike lanes to provide a safe commute around town. If you want to live in Indianapolis without owning a car, this is the neighborhood for you.

#10. Pro: plenty of fun things to do in the city

You can find plenty of attractions and activities to keep you busy in your downtime as a resident in Indianapolis. Some fun things to do in the city include:

  • A day at the Indianapolis Zoo
Living in Indianapolis - 900
Indianapolis, IN (Sourced: via twenty20)

The Indianapolis Zoo is home to nearly 1,400 animals and 31,000 plants, including endangered and threatened species. It is the only American zoo accredited as a zoo, aquarium, and zoological garden. It is a fascinating and educational place to visit with your family.

  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

If you’re a fan of auto racing, you’ll certainly enjoy going to this museum – it exhibits an extensive collection of auto racing memorabilia that showcase various motorsports and automotive history.

  • The Canal Walk
Living in Indianapolis - 900
Beautiful walk on the canal in Indianapolis, Indiana(Sourced: via twenty20)

Nearly 1.5 miles of the Canal Walk links several downtown museums, public art pieces, and memorials. You will find several walking and bicycling paths, as well as options such as gondola rides, pedal boats, kayak, and surrey rentals.

  • Festivals and events galore

Indianapolis hosts several annual events and festivals to showcase local culture. The “Month of May” is the largest annual celebration, with the 500 Festival Parade known to draw over 300,000 spectators. Other events worth attending include the Historic Irvington Halloween Festival, Indiana Black Expo, and Indiana State Fair. 

  • Motorsports in all its glory

Indianapolis is famed to be a major center for motorsports. For decades, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) has held the Indianapolis 500, an open-wheel automobile race annually, on Memorial Day weekend. IMS has hosted the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis since 2014 and the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pennzoil 150 since 2012.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, if you appreciate the midwestern mentality, Indianapolis can be a great place to live. There is a good community in the city, and the area is small enough to allow you to network with ease and form new connections. That said, it’s also essential to consider the downsides before you decide to take the plunge and move to Indianapolis.

Indianapois compared to other cities (June 2021 rent price data from Zumper national rent report)
Cities1-BR Avg. Rent 2-BR Avg. Rent
Houston $1,220$1,530
San Antonio$1,040$1,300
San Diego$2,060$2,730
Data sourced from Zumper national rent report October 2021

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author, and she enjoys traveling, reading, and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC.

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