Monday, May 20, 2013

the poor ye shall always have with you, in the burbs...., | 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.

“Poverty isn’t a static thing,” she added. “People don’t stay on one side of the (poverty) line or the other. They move back and forth.”

More than 23,000 pupils in the county’s public schools qualified for free or reduced-price lunches in the 2012-13 school year — triple the number from a decade ago.

In suburban Platte County, the number of persons receiving food stamps climbed 11 percent between 2009 and the end of last year. Cass County saw a 15 percent jump in that time.

The Brookings study attributed part of the shifting poverty patterns to overall population growth in the nation’s suburbs, where much of the housing stock is more than 50 years old.

The authors said the trends demand new approaches in social-welfare efforts, which currently emphasize “place-based” programs to help neighborhoods with large concentrations of poor residents. Suburban poverty, by contrast, tends to be diffuse and spread across fragmented communities.

“Poverty is touching more people and places than before, challenging outdated notions of where poverty is and who it affects,” said co-author Elizabeth Kneebone.


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Uglyblackjohn said...

Wait.. I was born and raised in Riverside. It used to be a nice out-of-the-way town in the middle of nowhere. The sprawl brought in many new residence who were looking for a better more affordable life. Now it's grown beyond it's ability to sustain itself. With NASCAR, Main Street Parades, the military, lots of nearby colleges, a chuch-going community... It seemed like 'Mayberry'. I think the same growth ruined Atlata and many other fast-growing towns and cities.

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