Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Poverty and philanthropy in the suburbs

When we think of poverty, we might think of blighted inner cities or depressed rural towns. But don’t forget poverty in the suburbs, says a new book from the Brookings Institution by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.

Since the 1980s, poverty has been growing in the suburbs at a faster rate than in the cities or rural areas. This increase accelerated in the 2000s. Today there are more poor Americans living in the suburbs than in the cities, and 55 percent of poor people (15.3 million) in metropolitan areas live in suburbs. While the poor population in Seattle and other Puget Sound cities grew by 26 percent from 2000-10, the poor population in the nearby suburbs (where I live) grew by 74 percent. In 2010, 68 percent of poor residents in the Seattle metropolitan area were suburban, compared to 61 percent just a decade earlier.

Most of the poor in sixty metropolitan regions across the country live in the suburbs. In sixteen metropolitan regions (such as Atlanta, Boise, Cape Coral, Colorado Springs, Columbus [OH], Grand Rapids, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City), the numbers of suburban poor more than doubled between 2000 and 2010.

There are various reasons for the increase of suburban poverty in the 2000s: the increase of overall poverty because of the Great Recession, the aging of suburban housing stock, the migration of the upper and middle classes from older suburbs to newer suburbs or into the cities, the location of immigrant populations in lower-cost suburban areas.

Read more at Philanthropy Daily here

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