Indigenous people have been living in the area since 10,000 BC. In 1818, the Lenape relinquished their tribal lands under the Treaty of St. Mary's and in 1821, Indianapolis was established as a planned city for the new headquarters of the Indiana state government. Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham designed the city on a 2.6 km (1 square mile) grid along the White River.
The construction of the national and Michigan highways and the arrival of the railroad later solidified the city's position as a manufacturing and transportation hub, earning it two nicknames: Crossroads of America and Railroad City. In 1970, Unigov combined city and county governments and extended the city limits to include most of Marion County. This caused a decrease in population in the 1970s, but was followed by steady growth in subsequent decades. Marion County has a larger population than Indianapolis due to several cities being excluded from Unigov, such as Beech Grove, Speedway, and Lawrence.
Healthcare in Indianapolis is provided by more than 20 hospitals, most of which belong to private, non-profit health systems such as Ascension St. Vincent Health Health, Community Health Network, and Indiana University Health. Several are teaching hospitals affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine or the Marian University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Other major non-profit private hospitals based in the city include Ascension St.
Vincent Hospital Indianapolis, Community Hospital East, Community Hospital North, and Franciscan Health Indianapolis. The Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) is a quasi-government agency that organizes regional car and van ridesharing and manages three connections between the public workforce from Indianapolis to the Plainfield and Whitestown employment centers. Publication from the Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business states that despite a lower number of births, natural increase remains the main driver of Indiana's population growth. This is due to a net influx of residents over the past three decades which coincides with net immigration to the state during the 2000s.
Data from the latest Census Bureau demographic estimates shows that Indiana's total net immigration during this decade was 62,000 residents. InContext is an award-winning publication from the Indiana Business Research Center at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University which highlights that migration is usually what comes to mind when we think about demographic change; however, natural increase has long been the main source of growth in Indiana. This is due to high levels of natural growth despite having a net outflow of residents between 1960s and 1980s. As population ages, this measure has steadily declined over past 70 years.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) is the principal law enforcement agency in Indianapolis. Notable weeklies include NUVO, an alternative weekly; The Indianapolis Recorder, a weekly that serves local African-American community; The Indianapolis Business Journal which reports on local real estate news; and The Southside Times.