The Indianapolis metro is comprised of 10 counties, the largest of which is Marion. The metro's population is forecast to increase at an annual rate of 1.0 percent over the next five years. The most populous city in the metro is Indianapolis, claiming 833,400 residents, followed by Carmel and Fishers.
Indianapolis underwent an economic renaissance during the past two decades. The importance of manufacturing companies lessened as other employment sectors began to play larger roles. Local pharmaceutical production facilities have helped stabilize manufacturing employment, despite the sector’s diminished significance. The metro is one of the key health sciences centers in the nation, anchored by several pharmaceutical and life sciences companies.
Around 50 percent of the U.S. population is within a one-day drive of Indianapolis. The city is easily accessible to many major metros by ground or air, resulting in the trade, transportation and utilities sector posting phenomenal growth in the past three decades. The industry added more than 70,000 positions in that time and now accounts for roughly 21 percent of the work force.
Annual GMP in Indianapolis is expected to top 2 percent during the next two years. Retail sales rose an estimated 2.5 percent in 2012, a rate that will be maintained this year. The concentration of intellectually intensive firms, as well as low business costs, and the recently passed right-to-work legislation, signal the state’s pro-business stance.
The metro lacks formidable development barriers, except for the several rivers and creeks that traverse the region. Marion County, home to Indianapolis, is surrounded by mainly rural counties, offering builders ample land for residential and commercial development. Population growth is primarily concentrated to the northern suburbs and west of the city.