INDIANAPOLIS — A new project from the Polis Center at IUPUI is tracking Indianapolis’ COVID-19 pandemic recovery by analyzing metrics including unemployment, housing prices and pandemic relief funding.
“How Is Indianapolis Doing?” uses data from several external sources to show how the city has changed from the early days of the pandemic to now. The data hub is updated regularly based on when new local, state and federal data becomes available.
Analysts at the Polis Center were inspired by a similar project called “How’s New York City Doing?” that focuses on New York City’s pandemic recovery. They took that concept and expanded it based on what they heard people in Indianapolis talking about.
“Being a data person, I always want conversations about public policy or the general feeling about how things are going to be grounded in something other than just anecdotes,” said Aaron Olson, a research data analyst at the Polis Center. “It’s really important to tell stories, but I think you should do that alongside with actual data.”
Olson’s own experience buying a home during the pandemic sparked his interest in tracking the housing market. “How Is Indianapolis Doing?” shows that the median home price in Indianapolis increased by more than $60,000 from 2020 to 2022. At the same time, data from the project shows that the market is starting to cool when it comes to how quickly homes are selling.
While some of the data may validate people’s concerns, Olson said it may also challenge common narratives.
“There’s a continual conversation about crime,” he said. “You can see in our data that violent crime went up during the pandemic. However, in 2022 it started to come back down. The narrative I was hearing was crime went up and it’s continuing to go up.”
Those interested in updates on the project can sign up for a monthly newsletter; each one highlights three new trends emerging from the pandemic recovery data.