The New, Suburban, Face of Poverty

Between 2000 and 2008, large metropolitan areas saw their suburban poverty rates grow at twice the rate of inner cities, according to a new report by the Brookings Institution.

For example, in 2008, 23 percent more people were living in poverty outside the city of Cleveland’s borders than inside it. That’s a 44 percent jump since 2000, for a total of 9 percent of the suburban population. Meanwhile the number of poor in the city of Cleveland decreased, WCPN Ideastream reports.

Similar trends were reported in Akron and Youngstown.

Also of note:

-Social service providers are ill equipped to serve the decentralized population of the new suburban poor.

-Sun Belt cities like Miami, Phoenix and Los Angeles, hard hit by the housing crisis, have seen significant increases in poverty over the last two years.

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8 Comments

Filed under Featured, sprawl, The Housing Crisis, Urban Poverty

8 responses to “The New, Suburban, Face of Poverty

  1. Pingback: Streetsblog Capitol Hill » Plenty of Spaces, but “Nowhere to Park”

  2. Pingback: Streetsblog New York City » Plenty of Spaces, but “Nowhere to Park”

  3. Pingback: Streetsblog San Francisco » Plenty of Spaces, but “Nowhere to Park”

  4. Pingback: Streetsblog Los Angeles » Plenty of Spaces, but “Nowhere to Park”

  5. I think this goes back to the long history of cities which contrary to popular belief are amazingly good places for poor people to live and progress up the social ladder.

    Of course it’s beyond the memory of most people today, but the real story of the super densely overcrowded places like NY’s Lower East Side,Harlem or Williamsburg in Brooklyn was how effectively they assimilated massive numbers of very poor people.

    For a more recent example, take a look at Singapore or Hong Kong.

    It’s sort of self evident that a dense viable city would offer the largest variety of goods and social opportunities to all people at the lowest cost.

    The sad thing today is that most of our hollowed out cities offer less convenience than many suburbs.

  6. I think a lot of this comes from the intellectual laziness or plain stupidity of most people.

    We associate dense areas with poverty because this where a lazy person can see them all together and take a picture or film of them. Not many people would roam around all the poor rural farms in West Virginia or the old south to get an idea of how so many people really lived. Even fewer got shots of places like southern Italy, The Ukraine, rural Ireland or the Balkans from which so many came. But the minute it was easy to get a picture of them in say a factory in lower Manhattan all the world’s photographers and filmakers discovered poverty.

    In a way, suburbia is a blessing for the lazy. Suburbs don’t get rid of poverty but they put it further from plain sight, which is what a lot of people really want.

  7. schmange

    That’s an interesting point about cities assimilating people. I hadn’t thought of that, John.

  8. The Columbus Dispatch just ran an article on the Central Ohio take:

    Central Ohio bucks trend of rising suburban poverty

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