Suburgatory: 16,361,075 poor live in suburbs, 13,359,850 in cities

By |
Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Brookings Institution,Lyndon B. Johnson,Poverty

Living in the suburbs is no longer the American dream for 16.3 million people because of a decade-long shift in where the poor live.

A new Brookings Institution study found that the percentage of poor people in suburbs grew 65 percent since 2000 and now totals 16,361,075. In cities, where the percentage of the poor also grew — but by 30 percent in the last decade — the total is 13,359,850, or 29 percent of the nation’s poor.

In a new book and podcast, Brookings found that the economy continues to push more people into poverty and that wages aren't keeping pace.

“Even working full-time doesn't necessarily guarantee you are going to be above the poverty line,” said Brookings author Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program, in a new podcast promoting her book, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, co-written with Alan Berube.

Their book comes on the 50th anniversary of former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty,” and is a blueprint for refocusing the battleplan. “Clearly there’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Kneebone.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at