Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Suburban Poverty (Part 1): Book Documents Trend Since 1980

The documentary A Place at the Table  follows the impact of hunger on families in the inner city of Philadelphia, rural Colorado and small-town Mississippi.  These are areas were selected because they reflected the impact of hunger, poverty and malnutrition on children in certain types of communities.  If the producers were to add a fourth location to the documentary, chances are they would select  the suburbs.

Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution, document the rise of poverty in the suburbs in their recently published book entitled Confronting Suburban Poverty in America

"..over the last decade, suburbs have increasingly become home to America's poor. Between 2000 and 2011, the population living in American cities below the poverty line increased by 29 percent. During that same time, across the country in the suburbs of metropolitan areas as diverse as Atlanta and Detroit and Salt Lake City, the ranks of the poor grew by 64 percent. Today, more poor people live in the suburbs (16.4 million of them) than in U.S. cities (13.4 million), despite the perception that poverty remains a uniquely urban problem," The Atlantic magazine said in an article about the book.

 "By the mid-2000s, more Americans were living below the poverty line in suburbs than in cities. In the Boston metropolitan area, census data from 2010 showed that more than two-thirds of the region’s poor population was settled in the suburbs," said a recent article in the The Boston Globe

The trend is illustrated further in this video promoting the book. 

Next: Mapping Poverty in Metropolitan Areas

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