Poverty in the USofA is generally regarded as an urban phenomenon. This belief has very long roots that go back to our origins as a largely agricultural nation where cities grew primarily with immigration – people who had nothing but a strong back and a desire to work. Constant growth and government policy maintained this situation until very recently, but that is changing.
In 2008 the Brookings Institution found that suburban poverty was increasing at an alarming rate across the nation. In many urban areas the suburban poor outnumber those in the inner city – and suburban poverty rates are growing at five times the urban average. In the Minneapolis-St Paul urban area, 54% of the poor lived in suburbs as of 2008 and this trend is growing.
There are deep social and political changes that can be expected from this change, which should only continue.