The New Suburban Poverty - Lisa McGirr via NYTimes.com ⇢
The suburban and homogenous USA has become a thing of the past, and rising suburban poverty and the flight of the wealthy to exclusive exurbs and gentrified urban neighborhoods is leading to suburban infrastructure collapse:
The New Suburban Poverty - Lisa McGirr via NYTimes.com
Why is poverty soaring in the suburbs? Part of the answer, according to the Brookings Institution, is simple demographics: More Americans live in the suburbs, so there are more poor people there, too. But the recent downturn has also had an outsize impact on suburbs, with the decline in certain categories of jobs and an end to the housing boom that drew many urbanites and immigrants to the suburbs in the first place.
Chances are, however, that suburbs facing the highest burdens of the new poverty will be least able to meet them because of the economic recession and the spatial retreat of the better off. Just as many white Americans fled the cities for the suburbs in the 1960s, leaving the cities behind with declining tax revenues and fewer job opportunities, there is new cycle of exodus of the well-to-do from inner-ring metropolitan suburbs. As the better-off retreat, the provision of amenities and essentials from parks to schools to garbage pickup, heavily funded by property taxes, are bound to flounder for those left-behind.
One recent study conducted by Sean Reardon and Kendra Bischoff of Stanford University documented the spatial sorting by income that is going on, with the wealthy flocking together in new exurbs as well as gentrifying pockets of urban centers. In 1970 — the high-water mark of a more homogeneous suburban America — only 15 percent of families in metropolitan areas lived in socio-economically segregated neighborhoods categorized as affluent or poor. In 2007, that figure was 31.7 percent.
The demographic splintering in the US is likely accelerating since the 31.7% of 2007. When the majority of the country lives in economically segregated neighborhoods, that, more than the collapse of the suburbs, will be the end of the American Dream