I was driving through Philly the other day and …blah, blah, blah, …poor people.
We thought it good form to find some content from the interwebs that contradicted our own take on the issue at hand lest we be judged smug, dismissive. A semi-anonymous blog post from this summer fits the bill nicely and is linked to below. It employs the relativity argument. Not derived from Einstein’s view of the universe this is a technique beloved of those politically to the right. A cross-comparison to global poverty is usually involved. It is designed to shut down arguments about social policy in a developed country and is, in our experience, driven by fear, loathing and the lack of experience of life though it is usually presented as highly rational and objective. Such positions on social matters remind us that the battle against poverty need be waged as much in middle and upper class brains as in government offices, clothing banks, soup kitchens and shelters.
Suburban poverty? The Burning Platform
Johnson County, in northeastern Kansas, is among the jurisdictions starting to encounter suburban poverty. Enough of it to see to the production of this 38 page presentation on the matter this spring.
Poverty: at home in the suburbs
United Community Services of Johnson County
More 2010 US census analysis is trickling into the mainstream media. The stats show Texas, Florida and California really taking the cake when it comes to suburban poverty.
…or maybe that should be a carton of stale Twinkies from the food bank.
Poverty pervades the suburbs
CNN Money with map & video
2010 Census data has come under analysis and it shows that the general US economy is not in the best of shape. Curiously, the percentage rate of African American poverty is a just a tad lower than that for white Americans. It’s hard to say off-the-cuff what this means but we see it’s enough to get this emerging downturn labelled in the mainstream media as ‘different this time’ and as a suburban recession/depression.
Welcome to the suburban depression CNBC
Some new data has become available about First Nations in Ottawa. The population is growing but becoming more spread out. Newly arriving First Nations persons are also moving directly to suburban Ottawa in a number of cases. The sterotype of aboriginal poverty in the centres of Canadian cities (and on reserves) might appear to be changing if this demographic development were to be looked at further. Unfortunately, the article indicates that there is still hardship for Ottawa’s First Nations outside of the more established neighbourhoods they have lived in there.
5 things to know about Ottawa’s aboriginal community CBC
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development produces a host of data directly useful for assessing social conditions. Do we need a supercomputer to connect rising inequality and the stacked economic gains of the rich with suburban poverty and downward mobility?
Notes for individual countries are found on the OECD site (.pdf files):
Better than many for a long time but no reason to be smug: Canada
Faltering after some improvement: United Kingdom
Forget it, only Turkey & Mexico are worse for income inequality: United States
Some improvement but could do better: Australia
Brookings Institution has followed its earlier papers on suburban poverty with several worthy efforts.
Below is a link for downloading their October 2010 paper about the difficulties facing social services in suburbia after the economic crash of 2008. Tough times in America for the working poor: with implications for understanding experiences in other countries including Canada and the UK. The paper includes statistical evidence on reported incomes and includes ‘on-the-ground’ impressions from three major urban-suburban agglomerations. Part of the ‘Metropolitan Opportunity’ series.
Suburban safety nets rely on relatively few social services organizations, and tend to stretch operations across much larger service delivery areas than their urban counterparts.
This second link, to a University of Chicago page, includes video from one of the authors and some links to mainstream media coverage.
Poverty grows in suburbs, but social services don’t keep up
Guess where the survey found an increase in homelessness? If you answered ‘the suburbs’ you are correct. Homelessness on the Left Coast can’t just be about the weather and the scenery.
Homeless numbers rise in Metro Vancouver suburbs
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto released a report at the end of 2008 that makes for alarming reading. Really, child poverty is the worst kind. It would seem that Canada is not exactly like some small Scandinavian country with zillions of Krona to spend on sensitively applied, boutique social programs. Too bad if you live in suburban poverty, huh?
In areas such as Mississauga, Markham, Richmond Hill and Oakville, child poverty rates have soared since 1990, closing in on levels once isolated to downtown Toronto, says the report, which used census data from 2006.
Downtown East Side normally leaps to mind when considering poverty in Vancouver, Canada’s Pacific Rim big city. If you’ve ever seen that neighbourhood for yourself anytime in the last few decades then the reference is all too understandable. Unfortunately, Vancouver is now seeing some of the movement of poverty that Toronto is. In January, 2011 the Globe and Mail published a map detailing this change using Statistics Canada census data for 1971 and 2006.
Pockets of poverty are arising in the suburbs of Vancouver while prosperity is popping up in the DES