NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Poverty Comes To The Suburbs

April 28, 1999

Increasing proportions of suburban residents are living at or barely above the federal poverty line, according to a report from Tufts University researchers. They estimate that by 2010, the percentage of children living in poverty will have grown at a faster rate than in inner-city and rural areas.

  • The proportion of children living in poverty in the suburbs is expected to increase from 15 percent in 1995 to 19.5 percent by 2010 -- a 30 percent jump.
  • That's just above the projected increase 29.3 percent of poverty-level inner-city children, but significantly more than the expected 22.2 percent increase in rural areas.
  • Analysts suggest that middle-class homeowners are abandoning older suburbs and looking for newer homes and more space further out.
  • Older and cheaper housing in aging suburbs is attracting a poorer population that is eager to escape crime and failing schools in the inner-city and get closer to jobs in fast-growing suburbs.

Experts find evidence of growing poverty rates in the suburbs from higher participation in free school-lunch programs and increased demands for free food at soup kitchens and shelters.

Source: Haya El Nasser, "Soaring Housing Costs Are Culprit in Suburban Poverty," USA Today, April 28, 1999.


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