Report: Poverty Rates Rising in Suburbs

Poverty is increasingly striking the nation’s suburbs and exurbs (farther out suburbs on the edges of metros). High-poverty neighborhoods have risen 76 percent in the suburbs and 123 percent in the exurbs from 2000 to 2015, according to an analysis from Apartment List, which culled data from a recent report out of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. A high-poverty neighborhood is an area with a poverty rate that is 20 percent or higher. 

“It’s gotten too expensive to live in the core cities, so people are moving out to the suburbs,” says Andrew Woo, Apartment List’s director of data science. “Poverty is spreading and concentrating in high-poverty neighborhoods. … It causes property values to fall. It tends to shift [communities] more from ownership to rentals.” 

The number of people who are living under the federal poverty line jumped 41 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to the JCHS report. 

The nation’s poorest people are being pushed outside of expense-ridden cities and are seeking more affordable housing in the suburbs. The Rust Belt and the Southeast are seeing the largest jump in the number of poor neighborhoods, according to the study. 

“The South and the Rust Belt have seen pretty anemic wage growth over the past 15 years” as multiple manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas, says Woo. “In the coastal cities, like New York and San Francisco, residents face increasing housing costs but … they have stronger job markets with better-paying jobs.

Source: “Suburban Poverty Is Growing — and It’s Affecting Housing Markets,” (July 19, 2017)

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