Indianapolis (pronounced /ˌɪndiəˈnæpəlɪs/), officially the City of Indianapolis and Marion County, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Marion County. It is in the East North Central region of the Midwestern United States. With an estimated population of 853,173 in 2015, Indianapolis is the second most populous city in the Midwest, after Chicago, and 14th largest in the U.S. The city is the economic and cultural center of the Indianapolis metropolitan area, home to 2 million people, the 34th most populous metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. Its combined statistical area ranks 26th, with 2.4 million inhabitants. Indianapolis covers 372 square miles (963.5 km²), making it the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.
Founded in 1821 as a planned city for the new seat of the government of Indiana, Indianapolis was platted by Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham on a 1-square-mile (2.6 km2) grid adjacent to the White River. The city grew beyond the Mile Square, as completion of the National Road and advent of the railroad solidified the city's position as a manufacturing and transportation hub. Indianapolis is within a single-day drive of 70 percent of the nation's population, lending to its nickname as the "Crossroads of America." Anchoring the 26th largest economic region in the U.S., the city's economy is based primarily on business services, transportation and logistics, education, financial services, hospitality and tourism, and distribution services. Indianapolis has developed niche markets in amateur sports and auto racing. The city is perhaps best known for annually hosting the world's largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500.
The city's philanthropic community, led by the Lilly Endowment, has been instrumental in the development of its cultural institutions, including The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Zoo, and Indiana Landmarks. The city is notable as headquarters for the American Legion and home to a significant collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war dead, the most in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C. Since the 1970 city-county consolidation, known as Unigov, local government administration has operated under the direction of an elected 25-member city-county council, headed by the mayor. Indianapolis is considered a "high sufficiency" global city.
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