The Number of Poor People in Dallas Suburbs Keeps Going Up

Categories: The 'Burbs

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The suburbs stir up a lot of associations in the popular imagination. It covers territory as diverse as Leave It to Beaver and Blue Velvet. What the 'burbs don't usually evoke is poverty. For decades the war on poverty has been fought mostly in urban centers, but according to a new study out today from the Brookings Institute, the battlefield has shifted to their outskirts.

The report, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, surveyed 95 metropolitan areas in the U.S. The research shows that between 2000 and 2011, while the number of Americans living below the poverty line in cities rose 29 percent, the number living in suburban areas rose 64 percent. In Dallas-Fort Worth specifically, the number of suburban poor doubled between 2000 and 2011, from 224,443 to 474,023, giving DFW the 12th highest growth rate out of all the cities surveyed.

The study cites many factors for these trends: lack of affordable housing, job sprawl, immigration, economic issues. The authors note that these were causing an increase in suburban poverty well before the recession hit, but the economic downturn exacerbated the problem in some areas.

See also:
Cities Are Now Growing Faster Than Suburbs -- Except in Dallas, Of Course
Mark Cuban Takes to Forbes to Remind Us That He, Too, Was Once Poor

"There were a lot of suburbs that were at the forefront of the recession, places that built too much housing," Alan Berube, one of the two authors of the study, told The Dallas Morning News. "And when prices fell and people couldn't buy because of the mortgage crisis, employment and the economy in those places dried up quickly."

A third of the American poor (those earning less than $23,000 a year for a family of four, according to the Department of Health and Human Services) now live in suburbia. That's more than are living in major cities, where things like social agencies and public transit provide more of a safety net. These are regional issues, but the Brookings Institute's findings show there's a pretty big need to revamp how the U.S. addresses poverty.

"These are really shared challenges," Elizabeth Kneebone, the other author, told The Atlantic. "The more people can recognize that their community is a part of this trend, that maybe their neighbor is affected by growing poverty, that hopefully would help galvanize some action around this."


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49 comments
everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Section 8 is the prime mover in this statistic.  The rules changed in the period you are looking at to give bigger vouchers for more expensive neighborhoods, moving poorer people into richer neighborhoods.

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/05/137617828/dallas-experiments-where-section-8-recipients-may-live

Coincidentally, like affirmative action college admissions, this sets the people being "assisted" up for failure, because the general cost of living is higher in these places, so they have more "rent" money, but not more money for all the other non-rent expenses they are now liable for.

BarackObummer
BarackObummer

As long as Sandra Fluke gets her free birth control pills what difference does it make?

garlandsucks
garlandsucks

Simple solution gas those under the poverty line...then the lower middle class can be taken back down a peg and wait the tables, detail the cars, clean the houses etc for the rich.  The rich can seize even more of the nations wealth.  Problem solved. Jesus was a venture capitalist millioniare.

Curtis McLean
Curtis McLean

not surprising since they are accepting more section 8 programs in the suburbs, then the more rich people r moving either further out or downtown and uptown areas

Charles Jones
Charles Jones

Gentrification at its finest. If I could, I'd move to Dallas. Well, in theory, I COULD, but I'm trying to eliminate my commute time to roughly 10 minutes. :-/

muddystick
muddystick

"City Planners" in Kaufman County are happy to build thousands upon thousands of "affordable" housing units in the abundant pasturelands east of the Trinity for the wretched poor of Dallas County.  That way the near downtown areas of Dallas can be reclaimed for the desirable young professional classes...just like in Seattle.

TexMarine
TexMarine

Don't worry, $8 gas will fix this problem.

Branson Heinz
Branson Heinz

Who said only white people can gentrify a neighborhood? However, more times than not, they are the ones who do.

Mark Mullen
Mark Mullen

And number of rich people downtown keeps going up.

Daniel
Daniel

Inner-ring suburbs are turds. FULL STORY AT 10!!!

Branson Heinz
Branson Heinz

I think it depends on the burb in the case of Dallas. Every city goes through cycles. You get white flight and then eventually they return to the city after its been gentrified. Right now, places like Garland, Irving, Mesquite, and even parts of Carrollton are having large booms of lower income residents.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

Stop allowing people to have children when they cant afford them and this would not be a issue

d-may
d-may

This isn't really news. It's a study that concurs with long followed and understood economic trends. This is really just a continuation of the life cycle of a neighborhood. 

1) Builders develop a neighborhood, wealthy people move in because everything is new and shiny and the new shiny stores are there.
2) The people have kids who eventually grow up and leave for college.
3) The kids don't come back to the now decades old neighborhood, instead they move to the newer shiny neighborhoods.
4) The wealthy older people who can afford to move closer to their grand kids do, and the ones that can't stay.
5) The once shiny stores have left and followed the young families to the new shiny neighborhoods. 
6) Property values drop, homes become rental properties, poor people move in.
7) Eventually the property values drop low enough that developers can afford to buy up the neighborhood and redevelop, bringing in new shiny stores and young families. 

Much of Dallas has now seen at least one full cycle. Cities like Irving and Grand Prairie are somewhere at the bottom of the cycle, and far exurbs like McKinney are at the top.

jcgreen59
jcgreen59

This article is distorted in its findings. Suburbs are not a thing of the past the inception of Section 8. Section 8 tenants are provided governmental sponsor housing through HUD in any locale in the County. Therefore, the poor who may not have the economic stability as those who are home owners. Therefore this is the new makeup of citizens occupying residents in the so called suburbs.

GrapeDrink
GrapeDrink

Think "W's" neighbor is eating pork and beans for dinner???

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

I bet you won't find any poverty in any of DMN's "DFW's Best Neighborhoods"

Marc C. Socolov
Marc C. Socolov

You know what's great about America? You can live wherever you want.

Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

This must be why Arlington keeps rejecting mass transit.

Karen Husted
Karen Husted

Get rid of welfare and food stamps, Planned Parenthood, immigrants, the unemployed, and I'm sure it would be heaven on earth, or so say the Republican/Tea Party morons. A deep economic/social problem created by corporations and Republican governance (trickle-down 'economics'). It's paradise for the rich and a s***hole for the rest.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Why does the author sound surprised?  This has been planned.  Lefty white folks wanted to reclaim as much of the urban center as possible and did their best to oust black and hispanic folks.  Hard to write snarky blog posts from Starbucks on your Apple laptop when you've just been robbed by the local vibrant youths and had your ironic mustache punched in through your face.

First was demolishing public housing projects and moving to rent vouchers and Section 8 housing, built out were middle class folk live.  Check out Cabrini Green in Chicago.  Right next to upscale the Gold Coast, IIRC.  Now that the projects are gone, white lefties can move in.  Also, some deranged folk thought that adorning the underclass with middle class attributes would make them middle class.  One of those attributes is living in the burbs around other middle class folk.  Didn't work, but, hey, they only spent hundreds of billions proving the theory wrong.  Also, see the housing bubble.  

Second, since owning a house is a middle class thing to do, let us make it easier for poor people to own a house.  Presto-chango, a newly0minted middle class man or woman!  Well, until the balloon payment came due.  This experiment in hope vs reality has cost, what, upwards of $1trillion?

Third was "stop and frisk" and similar urban-core policing techniques designed to roust and jail vibrant urban youths.  See NYC. S&F has helped displace beau coup black & hispanic men from the city's core to prison or the burbs.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@whocareswhatithink Such a practical, logical response.  We'll just draft a new law banning childbearing for anyone under a certain annual gross income.  It's thinkers like you who are truly making this nation great.

muddystick
muddystick

@dallas.l.may Thanks!  People spend thousands upon thousands in graduate schools to learn what you have succinctly explained in a comment.  I would just toss in the inevitable increased criminal activity somewhere around no. 5 that accelerates the drop in property values. 

mcdallas
mcdallas

@GrapeDrink We should outlaw pork and beans.  That way poor people don't have to eat it.  Unless they want to, in which case they still won't be able to.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Real pork and beans or metaphoric pork and beans?

d-may
d-may

You aren't actually far off. But it hasn't helped them much. Poverty has been growing there four the past decade anyway.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@roo_ster Yes, our commie-pinko, leftist, homosexual agenda to rid the cities of po-folk is finally working. 

They call them SUB -urbs for a reason.


primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

But many will claim not to be rich within any semblance of meaning of the word. As proof, they point out their neighbor as an example of a rich person and bemoan their personal level of relative poverty.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@TexMarine @Chuck_Schick you funny, Arlington is far from ghetto,  In a city as large as arlington there will be bad areas, but there are many nice areas too

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@dallas.l.may  I know a few months back a developer wanted to build out an area of undeveloped land in Southeast Arlington.  he went if front of the city council to show his plan which was immediately rejected because the city wanted the houses priced at a certain point, $200k+ I believe, and the builder refused.  The city didnt want lesser means folks living in that area.  The council also speaks loudly about improving North arlington because of its crime rate has risen and the apartments there are older and less expensive.  Viridian is the beginning of that.  They talk of fining apartment owners for petty things in order to shut them down. Some of them need it, but the city created this issue when they sold off all the land to Jerry and ran the lower incoming housing projects out of the city center an up to the next affordable place.  

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@roo_ster And despite the fact that most of Cabrini Green has been razed, there's still poor people living across the (L) tracks from the Gold Coast. Stop into the Jewel at Clark and Division if you don't believe me.

d-may
d-may

True, for now at least. But all communities have at least one thing in common, they all have infrastructure that eventually needs replacing. The only places that are truly immune from the cycle are communities with high enough taxes to pay for infrastructure upgrades. Most don't connect enough, and in fact use their low taxes as a selling point to attract new buyers.

The point is, it simply doesn't matter how affluent a community is in it's hay day. If the roads are bad, property values will decline.

d-may
d-may

@lljohnsonjr You might be surprised. Not even Richardson is immune. Richardson reports a poverty rate of over 10%, up from about 6% ten years ago. Granted they have fared better than Arlington, which now has a poverty rate of nearly 16%

It's just the way it goes. 

d-may
d-may

@ScottsMerkin That's an interesting story, and shows the point. Older 'burbs aren't immune from the life cycle of a neighborhood. Wealthy families aren't moving to Arlington anymore, and you can't force them to. The developer knows he can't make money selling high priced homes. And this isn't unique to Arlington. Irving, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, HEB, and all of the first ring suburbs are having similar problems. 


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