Brookings – Confronting Suburban Poverty in America

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 20, 2013

“It has been nearly a half century since President Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty, setting in motion development of America’s modern safety net. Back in the 1960s, tackling poverty “in place” meant focusing resources in the inner city and in isolated rural areas. The suburbs were home to middle- and upper-class families—affluent commuters and homeowners who did not want to raise kids in the city. But the America of 2012 is a very different place. Poverty is no longer just an urban or rural problem but increasingly a suburban one as well. In Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube take on the new reality of metropolitan poverty and opportunity in America. For decades, suburbs added poor residents at a faster pace than cities, so that suburbia is now home to more poor residents than central cities, composing over a third of the nation’s total poor population. Unfortunately, the antipoverty infrastructure built over the past several decades does not fit this rapidly changing geography. The solution no longer fits the problem. Kneebone and Berube explain the source and impact of these important developments; moreover, they present innovative ideas on addressing them.”

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