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Thread: Suburban poverty report

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Suburban poverty report

    From the AP Wire:
    HEADLINE: 12 Million Suburbanites Live in Poverty

    HIGHLIGHTS:
    The suburban poor outnumbered their inner-city counterparts for the first time last year, .... according to a study of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas released Thursday.

    The report, including data for the 100 largest metro areas: http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/...banpoverty.pdf.

    "Traditionally, cities have been viewed as home to poor populations, surrounded by middle- and upper-income suburbs," the report said. "This 'tipping' of poor populations to the suburbs represents a signal development that upends historical notions about who lives in cities and suburbs."

    Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said many of the same social and economic problems that have plagued cities for years are now affecting suburbs: struggling schools, rising crime and low-paying jobs.
    Has anybody heard about or is involved in this issue ?
    This issue is a bit of an eye opener for me.
    Oddball
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    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  2. #2
    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    From the AP Wire:
    HEADLINE: 12 Million Suburbanites Live in Poverty

    HIGHLIGHTS:


    Has anybody heard about or is involved in this issue ?
    This issue is a bit of an eye opener for me.

    I've heard of it and it makes sense. The migration away from the older inner-ring suburbs plus single parent households.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Has anybody heard about or is involved in this issue ?
    This issue is a bit of an eye opener for me.
    Yes, I have the been the lead "agent" for our county's "10 Year Plan to End Homelessness." It is a statewide effort in which all 83 counties participated in holding meetings, forging partnerships, and creating a plan to end homelessness.

    How does that fit in with your discovery? Well, at any given time 1% of the population in my county is considered homeless (1000+), but during our "10 Year Planning process" we identified that upwards of 20% (likely way more) are at risk for being homeless. The largest area of this county is a suburb of the state capital and our less formal information gathering aligns with what that study indicates.

    It is scary stuff. One little blip in the road for too many folks around here would send them crashing into homelessness. That blip can be as innocuous as missing just one day of work.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    We're one of the few cities in the area that aren't in denial about this (though we really aren't a suburb). The mayor here has been harping about the need for better education in the city so people can get better jobs (and the city can attract those jobs). She is also all about affordable housing in a variety of forms, making my job relatively pleasant. The same cannot be said for the TOWN NEXT DOOR.

    What's scary around here is the number of people less than 30 days from bankruptcy at any given time. I'd venture to say that around here, the people 30 days from homelessness is even scarier.

    We are somewhat unique in that we have neighborhoods that I'd say have 30% at or below poverty, but they do really well with what they have and keep the neighborhood up.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    As the housing market bottoms out I suspect things will only get worse, particularly in places where there is no economy except for construction, services, and trades.

    How should this study come as a shocker? Seems to assume the traditional poor inner city vs. affluent suburbs pattern goes for the whole country. I've they've been paying attention at all to anywhere outside the northeast (which they probably haven't) they would know that the suburbs have become diverse places economically and socially. Florida is a perfect example where the some of the poorest places are suburban. I'm sure the same goes for Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, etc. And don't forget abotu rural poverty either.

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    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    sometimes, you have to look at alternate sources of data. In my graduate thesis, I was doing some comparison between suburban Baltimore and Baltimore City and decided to look how many kids received free and reduced lunches. The data for the suburbs was real surprising at the time.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Spencer Township

    A bit of a coincidence that I would read this thread this morning. On the way home from the workplace yesterday I drove through an area of western Lucas County (Toledo's home county) that would fit the description of suburban poverty.

    Spencer Township's eastern squares are heavily-wooded, mostly low-elevation swampland. Over the years it became a quite obvious suburban poverty area, with small ramshackle houses, burnt-out buildings, piles of trash, old cars and trucks on blocks, and automobile graveyards. In the 1970's, some folks would buy these seemingly worthless properties, bulldoze the shack, and scrape off the high-quality topsoil. The soil was worth more than the property or the falling-down structures on the property.

    The area even had their own high school, a Soviet-like structure built in the 1960's called Spencer-Sharples High. The students there were primarily poor and many were from the horrible attempt at duplex-style public housing that was built across the road from the school. Before the school finally closed it was known as a great place to buy hard drugs.

    The area is changing. Many of the properties have been purchased by higher-income folks. They bring in loads of dirt to raise their new homes above the water line (it floods all of the time in these areas). Often they dig a pond and use that dirt to raise the home.

    Many of the homes were built in the last few years: Some very large, a number of brand new log cabin style homes, many with the now ever-present earth tone exurban single story with steep roofs. When you cruise a road like Frankfort Road you will scoot past a couple shacks (still lived in), a burnt-out building that once housed a fundamentalist church, a couple brand new places (very well-landscaped), and an abandoned mobile home. Typical.

    When you drive out of the forest, Spencer Township's western squares are dotted with very-well-to-do farmers, mostly growing field corn and soybeans.

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  8. #8
          bluehour's avatar
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    Ohhhhh yes, I saw this happening in Chicago and have experienced it in the Portland Metro Area.

    In fact, i've been watching it happen for the past decade. It makes sense: you rip down the projects and cheap urban housing, where are people going to move? Not to those luxury condos downtown...

    The idea, of course, is that there should be a better distribution of poverty. I don't think this is happening though. I'd say those in poverty will stick to where they know other people (the "village" model), or where landlords will take Section 8 Vouchers.

    Read the Brookings article -- its very good.

    One point I liked was that there can be better access to services in the surburbs-- like working class service jobs at strip malls, libraries and schools.

  9. #9
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bluehour View post
    One point I liked was that there can be better access to services in the surburbs-- like working class service jobs at strip malls, libraries and schools.
    But does that assumes they will be able to afford a car to get to those jobs, since many suburban areas are more auto-oriented than in the city.
    Last edited by mendelman; 14 Dec 2006 at 12:36 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    But does that assumes they will be able to afford a car to get to those jobs, since many suburban areas are more auto-oriented than in the city.
    The typical working class salary can easily afford an automobile. It's the "underclass" that must resort to public transportation.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by woodlands View post
    The typical working class salary can easily afford an automobile. It's the "underclass" that must resort to public transportation.
    Not everywhere, in places such as New York or Chicago, the typical worker cannot afford an automobile. The land price to park the thing is too high and sometimes even requires them to buy into a condo for a parking space of a quarter million dollars. In Detroit and Miami and probably many other urban areas, the cost of properly insuring a car can be ten to fifteen percent of a working person's income!

    Many working class folks under these conditions, would much rather use public transit than deal with these hassles and liabilities. It does not make sense to buy a car if you have to pay $3,000-$4,000 a year to insure it or take out another mortgage just to park the thing. Better to put that money in a 401k.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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