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Suburban Poverty

This article discusses a new phenomenon: for the first time ever, the number of “poor” in suburban America exceeds the number of “poor” in urban cities.

Here is an excerpt:

There are certain comparative advantages to being poor in a place other than inner-city Cleveland or Detroit. Whatever else he may fear, Price doesn’t have to worry about his children growing up on a street strewn with crack vials and gang graffiti–the one he lives on has manicured lawns and driveways with basketball hoops. The peculiar toxicity of urban poverty, many scholars believe, rests in its intense concentration, the welter of enmeshed problems that fuel crime, spiraling dropout rates and an air of hopelessness that leeches into every aspect of neighborhood life.

But the suburbs also have their disadvantages, among them the fact that getting anywhere generally requires a car. There’s no public transportation system in most outlying suburban areas, which is why the people who show up at the food pantry at the Red Cross in Rockingham County often carpool to get there, cramming one person each from four or five families into a single vehicle to save gas. Then, too, the newness of suburban poverty means in many towns there’s a dearth of social service agencies to offer help.

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