Public Good Index Maps Out Community, State Challenges

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Sagamore Institute Vice President Troy Riggs (pictured left) previously served as the director of public safety for the city of Indianapolis. Sagamore Institute Vice President Troy Riggs (pictured left) previously served as the director of public safety for the city of Indianapolis.

Indianapolis-based think tank The Sagamore Institute has released a study designed to arm major cities throughout Indiana and the U.S. with information to improve quality of life. The Public Good Index measures challenges facing the state including fiscal stability, poverty and net income. Indiana's data centers on 11 of the biggest cities. Vice President Troy Riggs tells Inside INdiana Business Television some surprising results in Indiana include "anemic" income increases between 2000 and 2015, which haven't kept up with inflation. The state's overall fiscal stability, however, stood out compared to other states. Indiana is expected to have a $2 billion budget reserve on June 30, 2019, which Riggs says is "outstanding, it means that we're prepared for the future."

The also focuses on spurring discussions that will help citizens, nonprofits, the faith community and local governments address these challenges.

The 11 Hoosier cities The Public Good Index examined in Indiana are: Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend, Carmel, Fishers, Bloomington, Hammond, Gary, Lafayette and Muncie. Compared to other cities within the region, Riggs says all but three Indiana cities that were examined are higher than their competitors.

Other findings include:

  • Poverty is one the rise in all major cities
  • Four of the largest cities -- Evansville, South Bend, Hammond and Gary -- have lost population
  • Indianapolis, the state capital and largest city, added 89,000 citizens in 15 years, but those experiencing poverty rose by 84,000, which the institute says creates a strain on governments and organizations that serve struggling Hoosiers.

Riggs says a national index will be released soon and, like the Indiana results, will give "wise council," which Sagamore is the Algonquin word for, to stakeholders.

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