Worlds Apart: Gaps in Life Expectancy in the Indianapolis Metro Area

Report by Tess Weathers, Tamara Leech, Lisa Staten, Elizabeth Adams, Jay Colbert, Karen Comer
July 2015

The Polis Center   (Indianapolis)

Two communities that are both situated within the Indianapolis metropolitan area and separated by only 28 miles are in reality worlds apart. One sits in a northeastern suburb of Indianapolis. Its residents have a life expectancy of 83.7 years, rivaling the top-ranking countries of the world, Switzerland (83 years) and Japan (84 years). Taking a drive from that community along I-465 and I-70 into the city, life expectancy drops off – to 78.9 years, then to 74.2 years - until you arrive in the second community, situated within the urban core directly south of Monument Circle. Its residents have a life expectancy of 69.4 years, similar to countries like Uzbekistan (69 years), Bangladesh (70 years), and Iraq (70 years). 28 miles, 14 years…and worlds apart. Why? In this article, we explore this question and share results of our analysis of life expectancy across the 11 counties and more than 100 ZIP codes in the Indianapolis metro area.