Welcome to Belly Rave*

Poverty is growing more rapidly in the suburbs than in either urban or rural areas, this is not something that we have experience in handling:

In many of America’s once pristine suburbs, harbingers of inner-city blight — overgrown lots, boarded up windows, abandoned residences — are the new eyesores. From the Midwestern rust-belt to the burst housing bubbles of Nevada, California and Florida, even in small pockets of still affluent regions like Du Page County, Ill., the nation’s soaring poverty rates are visibly reclaiming last century’s triumphal “crabgrass frontier.” In well-heeled Illinois towns like Glen Ellyn and Elgin, unkempt, weedy lawns blot the formerly manicured, uniform and tidy landscape.

The Brookings Institution reported two years ago that “by 2008 suburbs were home to the largest and fastest growing poor population in the country.” In the previous eight years, major metropolitan suburbs had seen poverty rates climb by 25 percent, almost five times faster than cities. Nationwide, 55 percent of the poor living in the nation’s metropolitan regions lived in suburbs.

To add insult to injury, a new measure to calculate poverty — introduced by the Census Bureau just last year — darkens an already bleak picture: nationally, 51 million households had incomes less than 50 percent above the official poverty line, and nearly half of these households were in suburbs.

When juxtaposed with the structure of the suburbs, poverty may be even more problematic in the burbs, particularly in terms of things like transportation.

I’m not saying that the suburbs are heading toward a dystopian world of suburbs as gang infested slums, the there does appear to be a change in the status of suburbs.

*Seriously, if you haven’t read Gladiator At Law, by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, you should.

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