As the number of poor people in America swells, the number of poor people living in America’s suburbs has grown to an astonishing 67 percent between 2000 and 2011, according to the Brookings Institution. As a percentage of the population, however, urban centers still have a larger percentage of people living in poverty than suburban areas, but the Brookings report shows a changing landscape.
According to the authors of the report, more poor people were lured to the suburbs with a promise of a better life.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
More poor people moved to the suburbs, pulled by more affordable homes or pushed by urban gentrification, the authors said. Some used the increased mobility of housing vouchers, which used to be restricted by area, to seek better schools and safer neighborhoods in suburbia. Still others, including immigrants, followed jobs as the booming suburbs demanded more workers, many for low-paying, service-sector jobs.
In addition, more poor people in the suburbs who had been doing well before the recession slid into poverty after the recession took hold. And the housing boom and bust further decimated suburban homeowners.
Suburbanites were not prepared for the economic downturn largely because of the idealized notion that suburbia means middle class.
The study defined poverty based on federal poverty line, which stood at $22,350 for a family of four in 2011.