This project aims to analyze how the COVID-19 global pandemic has affected housing in
the Mapleton Fall Creek neighborhood of Indianapolis, Indiana. With widespread unemployment
as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States more broadly has experienced an
increase in unemployment, evictions, and homelessness. Based on this notion, I hypothesize that
Indianapolis has seen a rise in evictions and homelessness as a result of the pandemic. The
second hypothesis I will make is more general. I hypothesize that there is not only a strong
connection between unemployment, eviction, and homelessness rates, but that evictions are an
important step in the gentrification process and with raised eviction rates, gentrification will also
see an increase. The last hypothesis of this project is meant to understand Mapleton Fall Creek
more intimately and historically. I hypothesize that Indianapolis’s Mapleton Fall Creek
neighborhood’s historically high rate of gentrification is being exacerbated by the COVID-19

To conclude, not all of my hypotheses were correct and some were proven wrong
entirely. Fortunately, this research has uncovered some subtle and nuanced aspects of the
connections between evictions, the COVID-19 pandemic, gentrification, and Mapleton Fall
Creek. First of all, I uncovered that Indianapolis’s eviction rates did not increase necessarily as a
result of the pandemic but were rather already some of the highest rates in the country.
According to IU’s policy institute, “The burden from evictions is not shared equally in Marion
County: nearly two-thirds of majority-minority census tracts experience high levels of eviction
filings. Black and Hispanic/Latinx minority communities experience significantly higher rates of
both eviction filings and evictions” (Public Policy Institute, 2021). These evictions more closely
affect the lives of marginalized communities, particularly Latinx people and African Americans; communities with fewer resources to begin with and less access to supplemental resources from
the state or federal government that could grant them relief. All in all, while evictions seem to
have stayed the same or even lowered in some Indianapolis communities, they still
disproportionately affect minority populations and populations with little to no access to
assistance or the tools necessary to gain assistance. Secondly, based on data analysis, eviction
and gentrification are inextricably linked. Gentrification is known to be represented by several
factors including average family income, population increase or decrease, percent of the
population that is age 20-34, percent of the population who is White, percent of the population
with a bachelor’s degree, the relative change in the area, and neighborhood data mostly from
census records (“Neighborhood Change…”2019). Generally, if white, college-educated, young
adults are moving into or buying property in a neighborhood, it is likely a sign the neighborhood
is gentrifying. Evictions play an important role in making available cheap and accessible
property for new homeowners and developers in gentrifying areas. According to Antony Chum,
Department of Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene and
Tropical Medicine, “The study finds that evictions are positively associated with (1)
neighborhoods in early stages of gentrification, and (2) “pre-gentrified neighborhoods” that are
beginning to be marked by changes in social composition, that is, an increasing number of artists
and people with higher education, but no significant increase yet in aggregate income or the
number of owner-occupied dwellings” (Chum, 2015). Eviction can be viewed as one of the
“Four Horsemen” of gentrification as it is one of the tell-tale signs of a pre-gentrifying
neighborhood or the beginnings of gentrification processes taking place. Finally, there is no
evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated evictions or gentrification
more broadly in Mapleton Fall Creek. Yet, it is important to note that the pandemic has not slowed or stopped Indianapolis’s already high rates of evictions for African Americans, a
population that is being bought out or evicted out of their homes fairly regularly in Mapleton Fall
Creek and surrounding neighborhoods. According to historical and contemporary data, the
neighborhood has been seen as one of the most rapidly changing neighborhoods in the city, with
the most recent data, as of 2016, showing the most rapid change. According to SAVI, “In recent
years, some of the fastest gentrification has occurred in Mapleton Fall Creek, where the
neighborhood has become more than twice as white as it was in 2010 and about twice as
college-educated. Average family income has increased 42 percent since 1990, while the region’s
average has increased only 11 percent” (“Neighborhood Change…” 2019). The city of
Indianapolis’s interests in developing along the northern stretch of College Avenue has driven up
housing prices and made much of the neighborhood difficult to afford for long-time residents in
the last four to five years. Mapleton Fall Creek remains to have a steady increase of the signs of
gentrification and the data suggests this will only continue. It is unclear if the COVID-19
pandemic has contributed to this increase in any way but it certainly has not made it more


BEFORE & DURING COVID-19. (2021, February).

Chum, Antony (2015) The impact of gentrification on residential evictions, Urban Geography,
36:7, 1083-1098, DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2015.1049480

Neighborhood change 1970-2016. (2019, June 26). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

Prosperity Indiana – Three Indiana cities within top 20 nationwide for eviction rankings
according to new database. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from