U.S. suburbs have more poor than the cities do, study finds
From The Kansas City Star 20 May 2013 -
U.S. suburbs have more poor than the cities do, study finds.
The number of impoverished people in America’s suburbs surged 64 percent in the past decade, creating for the first time a landscape in which the suburban poor outnumber the urban poor, a new report shows.
An extensive study by the Brookings Institution found that poverty is growing in the suburbs at more than twice the pace that it’s growing in urban centers. The collapse of the housing market and the subsequent foreclosure crisis were cited as aggravating a problem that was developing before recession struck in the late 2000s.
By 2011, the suburban poor in the nation’s major metropolitan areas outnumbered those living in urban centers by nearly 3 million, according to “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America,” a book to be released today by Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program.
The study placed the number of suburban poor at 16.4 million in 2011, up from about 10 million in 2000.
Around Kansas City, patterns of poverty have been quietly shifting for some time. But the economic downturn and job losses brought suburban poverty out of the shadows, said Karen Wulfkuhle, executive director of United Community Services of Johnson County.
“In the last three or four years, we’ve seen a growing understanding and recognition of suburban poverty,” she said. “It’s hitting people who have been here (in Johnson County) all their lives.”
More than 12 percent of Johnson County children 5 years old or younger lived below the poverty line in 2011. That figure was just 4.5 percent in 2008, Wulfkuhle said.