For what it’s worth, while Ingress was still accepting portal submissions, I went around and submitted over a dozen churches in what I believe is a largely black part of Indianapolis—where apparently no one else had bothered to go before, because there weren’t any portals in that area but there were lots of churches that seemed ideal for portals. The area between east 16th and 19th street, just west of Roosevelt Avenue. Got a number of successful portal submissions to my credit, plus increased Ingress’s (and subsequently Pokémon’s) presence in that neighborhood. That was me, doing my part for equality in the game without putting any further thought into it than, “Wow, look at all these places nobody bothered to put in yet, right here for the taking! Score!” So, y’know, go me.
But because of that, I can definitely believe that there are places that lack portals simply because Ingress players never bothered to go there and submit locations. Not just black neighborhoods, but also rural areas have that problem simply because there are a lot fewer people, and hence fewer players, around there.
The question is, what’s Niantic going to do about it? They lacked the ability to approve portals promptly in any meaningful way when the only game involving them was the relatively obscure Ingress. Now that everyone and their sibling is playing Pokémon Go, it’s impossible to imagine the deluge of portal submissions they’d get if they opened them back up. Heck, they even went ahead and removed the “request a Pokéstop” option from their support form, apparently because too many people were using it when it hadn’t even officially been opened yet.
In any event, it’s good that the popularity of Pokémon Go is bringing this matter some much-needed public attention. Hopefully it will lead to them working out a way to solve the problem and reopen portal submissions to everyone again. I still want to earn that badge in Ingress, after all!