Suburbia: Where the poor are(Read article summary)
15.4 million Americans living in poverty are in the suburbs, far outnumbering impoverished city dwellers.
The U.S. government has done all it can to promote home ownership, clustering over-indebted Americans together out in the lush green suburbs behind white picket fences. But, what was once the American dream is now where 15.4 million people living below the poverty level reside, according to the Brookings Institute.
Those living in poverty in Americaâ€™s cities totaled 12.7 million last year. â€śWe think of poverty as a really urban or ultra-rural phenomenon, but itâ€™s not,â€ť said Elizabeth Kneebone, senior research associate at Brookings. â€śItâ€™s increasingly a suburban issue.â€ť
The housing crash brought poverty to suburbia like never before. â€śThe collapse of the housing market caused the ranks of the poor to spike in Sun Belt communities, such as those surrounding Lakeland, Fla., and Riverside, Calif,â€ť writes Tami Luhby for CNNMoney. â€śMany low-income people had moved there during the boom to make money building and caring for homes or working in the retailers and restaurants that cropped up to service the new residents.â€ť
Suburban housing tracts donâ€™t look like slums yet, â€śBut behind closed doors, there are increasing numbers of people who donâ€™t have jobs, their retirement nest eggs are gone and they canâ€™t meet their mortgage payments,â€ť says Donna Cooper, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.