Indianapolis 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 855,164 in 2016, Indianapolis is the second most populous city in the Midwest and 15th most populous 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 27th, with 2.38 million inhabitants. Indianapolis covers 368 square miles (950 km2), making it the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.
Indianapolis was founded in 1821 as a planned city for the new seat of Indiana's state government. The city was platted by Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham on a 1 square mile (2.6 km2) grid adjacent to the White River. Completion of the National Road and advent of the railroad later 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 one of its nicknames as the "Crossroads of America".
Anchoring the 25th largest economic region in the U.S., the city's economy is based primarily on finance and insurance, manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health care, government, and wholesale trade. 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.
Led by the Lilly Endowment, the city's philanthropic community has been instrumental in the development of its cultural institutions, such as The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Museum of Art. 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" world city