The Hoosier State. The Crossroads of America. A quaint Midwest/Great Lakes State that has just as many nice areas as cornfields and manufacturing plants. Indianapolis is the capital and largest city, and 12th largest in the U.S. No other city in Indiana comes even remotely close to being rivaled in size, culture and commerce. Other population centers are in the Chicago suburbs, Fort Wayne, South Bend-Mishawaka and Evansville. Indiana is fairly diverse with both rich and poor communities and in between. The town of Carmel, a suburb of Indianapolis, is probably the state’s nicest and most affluent and fastest growing, but the city of Gary--near Chicago--is the epitome of rust belt decline, grime and grit and urban decay.
To say that Indiana is a hick state is hogwash. It has no more hicks than any other state. Most of them live generally south of Bloomington. There are also a number of hicks of Kentucky descent in the Indianapolis area. The state's 6.5 million Hoosiers (14th in population) are generally average people who live in small towns, sizeable communities and their suburbs. Most Hoosiers live within just a few hours drive from large Midwest metropolitan areas: Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Lousiville, St. Louis, Columbus and even Detroit. Very few states have that distinction. The Indianapolis area has tons of suburban soccer moms who live on cul-de-sacs, drive SUVs and hog the road. Hoosiers are generally conservative and often divided in loyalty between Purdue University basketball and Indiana University. The term Hoosier Hysteria describes Indiana’s love of basketball and was depicted in the movie Hoosiers. March is a huge month in the state during tournament season. Auto racing, however, is the state’s biggest sport by dollars. The Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400 are held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and are the 2 largest single-day sporting events in the world. With the emerging success of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, support for the Colts has recently overshadowed that of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers. In fact, Indianapolis will host the Super Bowl in 2012.
Indiana has pros and cons just like every state. Perhaps the state’s biggest con, however, is its regression. It takes forever to get anything done—anything from road construction to passing important legislation. Indiana ranks poorly in education. The state ranks like 40th in education, and Indianapolis Public Schools (the state’s largest public school district) enrollment is on the decline and has the second-highest dropout rate in the country. ISTEP scores are also worsening year by year. The state is lacking in innovation and creativity, making the brain drain a serious problem. Many young people are moving to other states when they graduate from college to take higher paying jobs that offer a future. Indiana has also lost a lot of manufacturing jobs—more than only a few other states. The state has not yet been able to produce better, higher paying jobs to replace those lost, and poor education is the largest factor. Property taxes are also high, considering its regression and low cost of living. Indiana is blessed with so much potential, but hasn’t live up to it very much.
Indiana is a quaint state in general but not all bad depending on where you live—better than Michigan, Ohio, and all those Great Plains Sates and inbred Southern states. It is the fastest growing state in the Midwest by population, but I guess that’s not important.
Prices shown in USD.
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