Kriston Capps flags an update to Brookings’ 2011 report on concentrated poverty, which reveals that suburban poverty in particular is growing in the wake of the Great Recession:
A rise in concentrated poverty is something we might expect to see after a prolonged recession. Still, a complete picture of the 2000s shows that the impact registered the hardest in largely rural areas surrounding geographically large metro areas. While concentrated poverty is still highest in cities—where 23 percent of poor residents live in distressed neighborhoods—the slide among poor residents into concentrated poverty was fastest in the suburbs. “Between 2000 and 2008–2012, the number of suburban poor living in distressed neighborhoods grew by 139 percent—almost three times the pace of growth in cities,” according to the report.
That poses a significant challenge to policymakers everywhere. If the best tools geared toward alleviating poverty are designed for urban centers, then they may be rendered increasingly ineffective by the new geography—with poverty spreading to areas with lower density, less transit, and fewer services. By 2008–2012, in fact, the suburbs were home to almost as many high-poverty neighborhoods as cities.