Latest Trend in Suburban Malls: Child Poverty

By Laurel Shaper Walters, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, December 26, 1996 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Latest Trend in Suburban Malls: Child Poverty


Laurel Shaper Walters, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


In the gleaming grocery stores of suburbia, shoppers with Gucci purses are lining up behind families with food stamps. Around the corner from sprawling malls and modern public schools, many parents are quietly struggling to provide food and clothes for their children.

Even in Overland Park, Kan., an affluent suburb of Kansas City, social workers are seeing a sharp rise in the the number of needy poor families.

"We've seen a growing number of working poor in this community," says Karen Wulfkuhle, head of United Community Services of Johnson County. "There is a labor deficit in this area, and there are jobs that are going unfilled. But many of them are low-paying without any benefits." It may be hidden behind the clean streets and manicured lawns of suburban America, but poverty among young children in the suburbs is going up as fast as tract housing. The depth of the problem was revealed in a recent report, which showed that poverty among children under 6 is growing nearly twice as fast in the suburbs as in cities. "The suburbs are starting to look more and more like the rest of America," says Julian Palmer, spokesman for the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University, which conducted the study. Although the heaviest concentration of poor children is still in urban areas, the strains of poverty are bursting the city limits and invading the suburbs. Between the late 1970s and early '90s, the suburban child-poverty rate increased nearly 60 percent. Meanwhile, urban poverty rose 34 percent, and rural poverty grew 45 percent. Seventeen percent, or 2.1 million, of suburban children under 6 now live in poor families. While the economy is doing well nationwide, many less-educated parents are finding it impossible to get jobs that pull them above the poverty line. "This is something that people don't see, but it's real," says Arloc Sherman, a researcher at the Children's Defense Fund in Washington. "It's not just a case of poor children moving out to the suburbs. It's the underlying failure of the economy to generate family-supporting jobs. In the '70s, family breakup was propelling a lot of poverty.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Latest Trend in Suburban Malls: Child Poverty
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?