Monday, May 20, 2013

Poverty is spreading, and the suburbs aren't immune.

Poverty has risen dramatically in the Bay Area over the last decade. Hard to believe? Read this article.

"While the poor are with us everywhere in greater numbers than ever before, the authors of "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America" conclude that the Bay Area's two largest metropolitan areas have experienced the spread of this scourge in starkly different ways. The percentage of people living in poverty in the suburbs rose 56.1 percent in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro area from 2000 to 2011, compared to 64 percent nationwide. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan region surged 53.1 percent. But Silicon Valley experienced a corresponding rise (49 percent) among its urban poor, while in San Francisco, inner-city poverty increased by only 18.4 percent."

"It has been nearly a half century since President Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty, setting in motion development of America’s modern safety net. Back in the 1960s, tackling poverty “in place” meant focusing resources in the inner city and in isolated rural areas. The suburbs were home to middle- and upper-class families—affluent commuters and homeowners who did not want to raise kids in the city. But the America of 2012 is a very different place. Poverty is no longer just an urban or rural problem but increasingly a suburban one as well.
In Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube take on the new reality of metropolitan poverty and opportunity in America. For decades, suburbs added poor residents at a faster pace than cities, so that suburbia is now home to more poor residents than central cities, composing over a third of the nation’s total poor population. Unfortunately, the antipoverty infrastructure built over the past several decades does not fit this rapidly changing geography. The solution no longer fits the problem. Kneebone and Berube explain the source and impact of these important developments; moreover, they present innovative ideas on addressing them."

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