Wednesday, December 28, 2011

America's Dirty Little Housing Secret Is Rocking The Suburbs

America's Dirty Little Housing Secret Is Rocking The Suburbs
In the wake of the Great Recession, poverty rolls are rising at a more rapid pace in the suburbs than in cities or rural communities. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of suburban households below the poverty line increased by 53 percent, compared to a 23 percent increase in poor households in urban areas, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of census data.

Last year, there were 2.7 million more suburban households below the federal poverty level than urban households, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was the first time on record that America’s cities didn’t contain the highest absolute number of households living in poverty. There are many reasons for the dramatic turnabout in the geographic profile of poverty.

While many once depressed urban areas are being revitalized in an effort to draw in more affluent residents, other areas are attracting lower-income families who have moved to the suburbs in search of more affordable housing and better schools. This shift in low-income families to the suburbs coincided with a move of low-wage, low-skilled jobs to those same suburban areas between the 1970s and early 2000s, experts say.

Meanwhile, the introduction of new commerce and high-cost housing in the urban neighborhoods pushed overall prices upward, providing added incentive for low-income people to head for the suburbs.

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Suburban areas have little or nothing by way of institutional support for poor people. And you can't convince any large foundation that there are any problems in the suburbs worth spending grant money on.

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