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Suburban poverty on rise in the Valley

Monday, May 20, 2013

Staff report


Suburban poverty is on the rise in the Youngstown metro area, according to a new report released by the Brookings Institution.

The report shows the number of poor people in the area’s suburbs has increased by 31,369 since 1970. From 2000 to 2011, the suburbs have seen a 39.9 percent increase in poor people compared with 6.3 percent in the city, according to the report.

Several driving forces in the study — such as population change, the economy, immigration and housing — were used to determine why the numbers have jumped drastically.

For example, the number of suburban people unemployed was 14,862 in December 2007. That number jumped to 24,736 in December 2010.

Shifting poverty, according to the report, affects many American foundations. The number of students in the Youngstown metro area who receive free or reduced lunches has increased by more than 3 percent from 2005-09.

But the issue has spread nationwide.

The poor population throughout America’s suburbs has increased by more than 64 percent over the past 10 years — twice the rate of urban neighborhoods. But more people continue to move to the suburbs. In 2011, 3 million more poor people called the suburbs home.

“When people think of poverty in America, they tend to think of inner-city neighborhoods or isolated rural communities, but today, suburbs are home to the largest- and fastest-growing poor population in the country,” Elizabeth Kneebone, who works with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, said in a release.

Kneebone also is the lead author of a new book called “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America,” which aims at changing policy and urges its makers to respond differently. The book, according to the release, also hopes to target the problem by presenting data collected by the institution.

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