Recent Study Shows Poverty in DFW Suburbs Has Doubled in the Past 12 Years

SuburbMillionaire.jpg
Andreas Praefcke
Suburbia ain't all it's cracked up to be.

If you think more poor people are living in the DFW area in recent years, you could be spot-on. Heck, after the 2008 recession you could be one of them. According to a recent Brookings Institute study, DFW, land of the suburbs, is quickly turning into the land of the slums.

Elizabeth Kneebone authored the study. She says the general national increase in poverty levels is a result of the recession. "The overall poverty trend in the Dallas metro area is demonstrating the same trends we've been seeing nationally, but is even ahead of the curve in some ways," she said. "It's even faster than average."

Kneebone found that the population of poor people in DFW grew nearly 65 percent from 2000 to 2012, and that population is becoming concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods. More than 56 percent of DFW residents below the poverty line live in neighborhoods with similarly high poverty rates, up from 40 percent in 2000. Perhaps most striking, impoverished neighborhoods are increasingly located in DFW suburbs.

"From 2000 to 2012 the poor population for suburbs more than doubled, in just over a decade. It's not that poverty isn't growing in cities, it's just that it's growing at a faster rate in the suburbs," Kneebone says. "Poverty has grown, but it has not grown evenly."

One possible reason for this is the high number of Dallas suburbs. In all, the DFW region is the fourth largest metro region in the country and is composed of around 6.8 million people. But only about 1.2 million live in Dallas proper -- and that's assuming you don't count affluent Lake Highlands or Highland Park neighborhoods as suburbs.

But the problems that accompany suburban poverty are just now starting to be recognized among advocacy groups. Kneebone says charity groups and aid workers have typically concentrated their efforts in urban areas, which leaves suburban poor people without the same public resources as inner-city indigent populations.

Many jobs that were created post-recession were minimum wage jobs located in corporate hubs just outside the city, suggesting another reason for the rise in suburban poverty in recent years. "It can create more entrenched and generational poverty," Kneebone says. "Creating more jobs may not pay enough to get a family off the poverty line."

The side effects for higher geographical concentrations of poverty are many: Residents of distressed neighborhoods are more likely to receive a worse education at failing schools, have poorer health, live in areas of higher violent crime rates and have fewer job and job networking opportunities.

"If anything this trend in poverty underscores how regional these issues are, that it's both cities and suburbs. And it's going to require a more regional response to make sure we're not creating more pockets of poverty," Kneebone says. "Understanding that these issues are becoming more regional in scope should be a catalyst for helping communities collaborate because it affects not just the neighborhood but the broader region. So it's something that all communities should be invested in addressing."


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29 comments
noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

Let's first agree that the economy in DFW didn't start sliding until the meltdown of the mortgage bubble which reached Texas in late 2005.  Prior to that, thanks to the Bush unemployment numbers which amounted to Full Employment, and a robust jobs picture in Texas,  we had a very healthy economy and good employment numbers for citizens. 


But, DFW also suffered from the invasion of illegals flooding in to North Texas, and - despite claims to the contrary - seriously hurting the economy and adding to unemployment.  However, it's only fair to call a spade a spade, and the White House under Obama made a series of mistakes, missteps, poor decisions, and outrageous use of tax dollars (many which went to his largest political donors) making  a bad situation worse, and failing to proscribe successful solutions to the multitude of economic problems. 


Dallas, Texas is the number one destination for illegals in this country, and have drained a huge number of resources intended as poverty safety net for American citizens.


The working black population is seriously declined, and further making the standard of neighborhood living has substantially declined. 


People who utterly disregard our laws and trespass into the United States illegally also train their own children and others that laws don't matter, and you can break the ones you don't like.  They have trashed the Rule of Law, and that is one of the hallmarks of a just and prosperous society. 


So, it is just no surprise that several neighborhoods and ethnic communities have fallen into decline, and the return of jobs and deportation of illegals are the primary ways to address the problems.

roscoejette
roscoejette

All you have to do is drive around - once the "newness" wears off, these suburbs decline. It's just part of the sprawl mentality. Then a new one pops up like Frisco (which probably won't age well - the mass-manufactured homes were built by unskilled illegals with staples and glue on cheap slabs).  Unless you are getting the renovation and teardown thing going like Central Dallas, Lakewood, North Dallas, North Oak Cliff (and Park Cities), your suburb doesn't stand a chance.  Check Lakewood area school enrollment figures - the students are becoming wealthier and whiter - in DISD. This is a very unusual trend that I have not seen in a suburb.

DavidRoot
DavidRoot

I'd like to see the data broken down by race and zip code. Did Brookings release that?

For the US as a whole, high-poverty suburban neighborhoods actually became more white. Black and latino families moved out at 4% each while poor white households moved in and replaced them.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

We let in more legal and illegal poor in the last ten years than in any other time period in United States history. 

20 to 40 million at least.

Texas bore the brunt of that.

Get control of the borders, and stop anchor and chain migration, or we are going to break the backs of the middle class . . . and we will elect politicians who will get it done.

This is what the American people are focused on right now.  It's that simple.

Between Big Business, the neoconservatives and the Left who all look at immigrants as a commodity, Americans have a real fight on our hands for survival.

And the stakes are huge.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

It kind of stands to reason.  From 2008-2011, despite the economic crunch we all felt here in Dallas, statistically Dallas went through less of a recession than other major urban areas of the country.  Our economy was stronger, for whatever reasons, and our businesses came through the other side much quicker.  We were doing gangbusters on HUD funded apartment projects, and most of them were in suburban cities.

Dallas isn't seeing a surge in poor because we have bad conditions now.  We're seeing a surge in poor because, when times were bad everywhere else, they weren't as bad here.

greengenuity
greengenuity

Besides the fact that the author has failed to address a critical contributing factor for this trend of suburban poverty (transportation), I'm still stuck on the fact we're even using the term "slums" in 2014. That is such a degrading word and is evidence that Mathis has little grip on the subject of poverty--of any locale.

Lorlee
Lorlee

I think you mean Highland Park and University Park -- Not Lake Highlands, which is just another part of Dallas, not a suburb.

Gangy
Gangy

The Texas Miracle!

wcvemail
wcvemail

First! and ... uhh ... I got nothin' but first, but that's something.

DavidRoot
DavidRoot

@noblefurrtexas  I can't find the stats on illegal migration to individual cities (I'm sure it exists, I'm just too lazy). Wikipedia says California attracted 1.3 million more illegal aliens than Texas from 2000-2006. Is there more recent/credible data than that?

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@DavidRoot As far as I know, there are no reliable demographics reported anywhere worth of documenting and archiving. 


But, I believe the estimates made by those on the border with Mexico, and see for myself on Dallas streets when the number of Latinos grow.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@DavidRoot While I am not a demographer by trade, it is an important part of what we do.  And, we also deal with public opinion polls, and know understanding the data in the crosstabs is critical to correctly analyzing the result.


As a race, there are currently more white people in American than any other.  They also populate the "Middle Class" more than any other race, and - as a group - have more education and much better jobs on average. 


So, it is not surprising that jobs paying more were eliminated first by many companies, and layoffs impacted white people more than any others. 


In fact, it's always easier to dismiss white people but there are dramatically fewer EEOC considerations than other races.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@DavidRoot

Where did those B&L communities go?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

Houses in the burbs rent pretty cheap and available. Where else is the the influx of lower economic strata going to go? Those treeless cookie-cutter Levittowns in S. Arlington are no more expensive than an apartment.

It's the spiral OK Carter wrote of in the ST over a decade ago.

JFPO
JFPO

Seeing as she called Lake Highlands a suburb, it's safe to say she's new here...not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm a transplant myself.

mm32
mm32

@Lorlee Yes, and UP and HP wouldn't be suburbs anyway, considering that they're completely contained by Dallas.  Further, Dallas population is over 1.2 million without them.


noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@DavidRoot David, I don't think this is an exact science.  Illegals come and go across the border, depending on individual situations, and whether they are leaving because the courts and law enforcement gave them no choice. 

I DO know that the Minutemen worked with the Border Patrol in estimating how many illegals were apprehended, how many escaped detention, how many were simply "missed" for lack of resources, and the somewhat cloudy legal numbers of those forced to leave the country. 

 



noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@DavidRoot The destination statement came from Border Patrol officers and demographers who worked on the 2010 Census.


The federal government continues to push the idea that there are only 9,000 to 11,000 illegals in the country.  But, leaders of the Minutemen and Borer Patrol people, estimate the actual number to well over 30 million. 


Dallas area police departments also say, off the record, that arrests of illegals keep going up exponentially. 

DavidRoot
DavidRoot

@TheRuddSki  I don't know if it's related (Brookings doesn't tell us) but as black and latino families decreased in poor neighborhoods, their numbers increased in middle income neighborhoods. I can only speculate, but it may be a sign of some economic mobility across the country.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@TheRuddSki

Rents really are not low right now. Housing stock is down all over the area, and loans are hard to come by unless your credit is stellar. Landlords are taking advantage of that situation and pricing rentals accordingly.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@alanperdue

GW was quite progressive on illegal immigration, but his legal team determined that an Executive Order over-riding immigration law would be unconstitutional. (NRO)

Obama has a much better legal team.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@DavidRoot

Looks like someone is moving up, but it seems odd that the nouveau poor would be whites.

It must be the war on coal.

DavidRoot
DavidRoot

@TheRuddSki Maybe nobody knows. Brookings has the raw data and could run the correlations for us though! 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@DavidRoot

Boomers are overwhelmingly white, many invested poorly, so I guess white is the new black until The Last Living Man At Woodstock finally leaves.

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