The rise of suburban poverty in the U.S. Graphic: Best MSW Programs

(Best MSW Programs) – What if I told you you were more likely to live in poverty living in the suburbs.

Suburbs: 16.5 Million Americans live under the poverty line [2]
Cities: 13.5 Million Americans live under the poverty line

And that poverty is expanding faster in the suburbs than anywhere else.

Increase since 2000:
Suburban: 139%
Urban: 50%

What sort of poverty are we talking about?

The Federal Poverty Guidelines:
An earnings scale dictating what wages are considered poverty level of below per household size.

[#household size || Federal Poverty Level][3]
1 || $11,670
2 || $15,730
3 || $19,790
4 || $23,850
5 || $27,910
6 || $31,970
7 || $36,030
8 || $40,090

Leading to:[4]

Alcohol and substance abuse
Unsafe work environments
Poor living conditions
Heightened chance of disease
Food-related illness
Shorter Lives
Shrunken Brains
Mental Illness
Anti-social behavior

Very real, crippling outcomes.
In the suburbs of nearly every city in the US.

Of 95 American metro areas, suburban poverty has only decreased in 9 areas:[1]
Syracuse, NY
Springfield, MA
Tulsa, OK
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC
Bakersfield-Delano, CA
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
Raleigh-Cary, NC

From 1970-2012

The Story: [6]

From 1910 to 1998, suburban population jumped from 12% of total population to 52%.
From 2000 forward, young professionals and empty nesters flocked back to cities.
Lower earners flocked to the suburbs.
Factors: cheaper rent. image of stable suburbs.

Many middle class Americans saw net worth plummet during the recession.

Adjusted Household Income:
2007: $55,438 (268% of Poverty Level for 4 person family).[8][9]
2013: $51,404 (215% of Poverty Level for 4 person family).[8][9]

Average Household Worth:
(Investments, cars, property, savings)[10]
2003: $87,992
2007: $98,872
2009: $70,801
2013: $56,335

Poverty in the Suburbs is harder to alleviate

With a much smaller support net.
“Work recovery” shelters, veterans housing, rental assistance, job training, computer labs, health care, food pantries are needed.

Case Studies

Poverty rate equal in city of Atlanta and suburbs.
197 areas with 20%+ poverty
88% of the region’s poor live in the suburb.

Ferguson, MO:[5]

1980: 85% white
2000: 5% unemployment
2000: 300 Federal Housing Choice Vouchers
2010: 13%+ unemployment
2010: 800 Federal Housing Choice Vouchers
2012: 57% black

1/4 residents made less than $23,492 for a family of four.
2/5 lived within 200% of the Federal Poverty Line

The face of poverty is changing, but that doesn’t make it any less real.



The Rise of Suburban Poverty


  1. Anonymous said...

    Read the Bell Curve, it would do you some good.  


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