Archive for February 17th, 2014

America: Poverty in the Cities, Poverty in the Suburbs

posted by Ida B. Wells IV @ 16:05 PM
February 17, 2014

Lost-Job-Need-Money    When media outlets discuss poverty in America, they usually display images of inner-city blight, or food stamp lines there, or data on unemployment there so that viewers get the point that low income levels are limited to urban areas––when they know full well that the new scene of poverty is suburbia!

As Constantine von Hoffman explains in ‘Money Watch’:  “The suburbs, long the place where people moved to escape urban problems, now have more poor people than cities do. However suburban poverty looks very different . . .

“The suburbs are home to the fastest growing group of people living in poverty. Between 2000 and 2011 the number of people living below the federal poverty line ($22,314 for a family of four) in the suburbs grew by 64 percent, more than twice the rate in cities.”

Christopher Matthews’ Time Magazine article, ‘Nearly Half of America Lives Paycheck-to-Paycheck,’ writes:  “. . . a report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) [says] nearly half of Americans are living in a state of “persistent economic insecurity [making] it difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future.”

The CFED calls this new lower American class “liquid asset poor,” meaning that “44% of Americans are living with less than $5,887 in savings for a family of four.” Moreover, now 56% of “recession ravaged” Americans have subprime credit, often forced to get high-interest loans from credit cards or payday loans.

Elizabeth Kneebone, co-author of ‘Confronting Suburban Poverty in America,’ said in a recent interview:  “. . . since 2000, the number of poor people living in suburbs has grown by 65 percent. . . .

“. . .  poverty is up by almost 16 percent in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.  Up more than 27 percent in the suburbs of providence.  Nearly 79 percent outside Seattle.  And in the suburbs of Austin, Texas, the number of poor has swelled almost 143 percent.  More poor now live in America’s suburbs than in cities.

More than shifting demographics, suburbs are still recovering from the foreclosure and financial crises.  But Suburban-Poverty-Growinggovernment programs remain geared to inner-cities and rural areas, not to supposedly-rich suburbs.  Kneebone adds that suburbs do not have the social infrastructure long established in cities.

Even about Suffolk County New York, with one of the highest median household incomes in America, including multi-million dollar homes, PBS says: “The food stamp caseload has soared, up 185 percent in the past six years.  That’s the case throughout much of America…food stamp use up dramatically.”  Food pantries have doubled in these and other wealthy American neighborhoods.

So why do most Americans know nothing about this ‘new’ poverty?  Could it be because people are blinded by illusions of sports manias, or naked singers giggling new rock and rap, or ‘escape’ movies about never-never lands?

Is it that governments don’t want citizens in a democracy to know that regardless of ethnicity, geography or political identification, ‘we are all sinking’?  As Bible prophecies predict:  “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (Revelation 3: 17).”

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