Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Suburban Poverty Growing

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Suburban Poverty Growing

Article excerpt

Suburbia is home to the largest and fastest growing poor population in the country, according to Brookings Institution research.

"Although severely concentrated disadvantage remains a predominantly urban phenomenon, suburbs now have nearly as many poor residents in high-poverty neighborhoods as cities," said researcher Elizabeth Kneebone. For her study, Kneebone used neighborhood-level poverty data from the American Community Survey for 2008 through 2012 to examine where and how poor populations have shifted. She examined the changing incidence of both "distressed" neighborhoods, in which at least 40% of residents live below poverty, and "high-poverty" neighborhoods, where at least 20% of residents are poor.

Poverty has spread since 2000, but it has not spread evenly, she said. "Instead, it has also become more clustered and concentrated in distressed and high-poverty neighborhoods, eroding the brief progress made against concentrated poverty during the late 1990s," Kneebone said.

The concentrated poverty rate remains highest in big cities, where almost one in four poor residents (23%) lived in a distressed neighborhood in 2008-12, compared to 6.3% in suburbs. However, suburban communities experienced the fastest pace of growth in the number of poor residents living in concentrated poverty over this time period. …

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