Tag Archives: United States

(55) Unexpected Texas

When we started suburban-poverty.com we had no idea what we’d come across.  Texas has surprised us a little.  Perhaps because right wing presidential hopeful Perry hails from Texas the state is enjoying some extra profile in North American discourse.  It seems the economy is doing well in right wing terms: lots of new crap jobs, low taxes and so forth.  The state is also physically more or less on fire from one end to the other, has been a brutal series of global warming oranges and reds on the continental weather maps for some time now.  Here’s some more Texas consciousness for you:
Poverty in the suburbs looks different than urban models
Baptist Standard

(53) US 2010 census data

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

(48) Get me to a hospital!

America has think tanks.  It would be tough to count just how many there are.  Luckily, at least one or two are getting their collective brain power around suburban poverty.  This posting links to a research brief from the Center for Studying Health Care Change.  The brief looks at health care data for poorer suburban populations in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Miami, and Seattle.  It seems these populations rely on visits to hospital emergency departments and face barriers to service including transportation.  Many suburban poor it seems also travel to hospitals in older core areas that face this demand for service on top of local, urban demands.  This document adds thoughtful detail to what suburban poverty means in the United States.
Suburban poverty and the health care safety net

(47) No ride? No job!

Leaving core city areas for cheaper housing in the suburbs is one of the few strategies available to lower income people.  Thing is, when they get out to the suburbs public transit is scarce and car ownership sometimes mandatory.  The financial requirements of getting around,  especially reaching a workplace, could easily soak up any gains from the cheaper housing.

These two links are to short items on Wired blogs.  They mention a Brookings Institution report into the matter and a recent American civil rights conference which concluded that reasonable access to transportation is actually a human right.

Ever wait in snow up to your ankles for a bus at 5:30 in the morning?  Ever have the timing belt snap on a fifteen year old Honda Civic in an industrial park after getting off the afternoon shift?  If so, you know what it’s all about.

No public transit? No job…
Transportation as a civil rights issue

(43) Suburban safety nets?

Resiliency is a charcteristic normally discussed in relation to a single individual.  The ability to persevere, to grow, to find resources, to face obstacles and keep moving forward is admired in people.  What is good in a person is good in an entire community, too.  The resilience of suburban living arrangements is increasingly in question.  Leaving aside the possible energy and economic future of suburban living we think it fair to say that the suburbs simply grew too fast.  Is it possible that traditional non-profit agencies, state/provincial, municipal, and even national governmental social service agencies simply cannot cope?  A couple of academics associated with the University of California and the Brookings Institution recently studied the problems of suburban poverty in Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, and Detroit.  An important conclusion was that philanthropy could make a serious counter attack on suburban poverty.  In an era of public sector fiscal disaster it is hard to come up with other ideas, but will it happen?
The safety net is thin in suburbs despite growing poverty UC Berkely