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.More »