Tag Archives: United States

(15) Tipping point: 2008 [The Atlantic Monthly]

It looks like 2008 was the tipping point for suburban poverty.  In that year of crashing global trade and high financial disaster awareness of suburban poverty started going mainstream.  It had always been there of course but joblessness, the mortgage bomb and the high cost of energy mean more people are sharing in it.  Media coverage of reports from the Brookings Institution and ongoing coverage of unemployment and foreclosures made for some grim reading for Americans.  The socio-economic and structural arrangements of suburban living appear to be contracting all over the United States and in other communities around the world.  One of the most substantial pieces representing this awareness of great change ran in The Atlantic Monthly in March of 2008.  This feature article shows just how timely and powerful good magazine journalism can be.  Required reading if you want to know where it’s all going.
The Next Slum? The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg.
Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements.

(14) Social services & suburban poverty [Brookings paper & University of Chicago]

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

(9) Another suburb living in the past: Nashville’s Brentwood

Nashville, TN from Wikimedia Commons/Terraprint


Usually
where there is a homeless population of any size there will appear at least one weekly charity newspaper sold by the homeless and focussing on that issue.  The idea is to restore some measure of positive socio-economic activity to the life of people in severe difficulty.  In Brentwood, a suburb of Nashville, the police have apparently cited individuals for selling a paper called The Contributor.  I thought they had a Constitution down there?

With a monthly circulation of about 115,000, The Contributor has more than twice the circulation of any other homeless paper in the U.S. and Canada…

(1) Welcome to suburban-poverty.com!

Where to start?  Well, a lot of this business began with things we felt intuitively, observed, experienced, read about, and talked about but had difficulty fully articulating.  When the economy crashed in 2008 this process of puzzling over what is around us became all the more vexing.  Coming across two major papers from the Brookings Institution led to a bit of a ‘Eureka’ moment, made things ‘official’, as it were.  Statistical evidence that suburban poverty is increasing in the United States (with implications for Canada and elsewhere) is on the table now, apparently for good.  Evidence in Canada is available, worrisome, growing in detail and getting harder to ignore.  Proof that a major change is under way in social conditions on this continent.

The Brookings Institution is a major, centre-of-spectrum think tank in Washington, DC.  It was established in 1916 and addresses a wide variety of public-interest topics.

This link takes you to a download location for the report:
By 2008, suburbs were home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country.