Poor and poorer

August 18, 2014

Like a lot of U.S. suburban areas around the country, Ferguson, Missouri is getting poorer. Underlying the weeks-long protests against the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager happening in the small suburban city north of St. Louis this month is a rapid demographic shift. Today, the Brookings Institution takes a look at how the poverty rate has changed in just the last decade:




Just how much poorer has Ferguson gotten? “The city’s unemployment rate rose from less than 5 percent in 2000 to over 13 percent in 2010-12. For those residents who were employed, inflation-adjusted average earnings fell by one-third,” writes Elizabeth Kneebone (who, it should be noted, has literally written the book on this trend). And Ferguson is not alone. In the first decade of the 21st century, poverty rates grew in suburban areas around the country, and already poor areas saw poverty become more concentrated.

Kneebone points out that one of the issues with increasing suburban poverty (besides, well, everything) is one of scale: “Ferguson is just one of 91 jurisdictions in St. Louis County. This often translates into inadequate resources and capacity to respond to growing needs and can complicate efforts to connect residents with economic opportunities that offer a path out of poverty,” she writes.

Think about that for a moment. Whatever the failings of the war on urban poverty, suburban poverty stands to become an even bigger problem.


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Poverty does not cause crime. If that were true the poorest people in our country live in Appalachia would have the highest crime rate.

Posted by chris1791 | Report as abusive

They are poor because they lack opportunity.

They lack opportunity because they lack education.

The community will get even poorer now that businesses have been burned and looted. Those businesses will not return.

Posted by Bdy2010 | Report as abusive

Most of them figured out its easier to collect welfare, because in the area near Ferguson we see the poverty level declined. Ferguson should be renamed Little Detroit.

Posted by Macedonian | Report as abusive

So, Ferguson on the map is right next to St. Louis Int’l Airport and hundreds of other commercial commpanies. With the Govenor’s ear “wide open,” why don’t you invite the State Employment Office down to 1) train ya’ll for jobs, 2) give employer tests and application forms, 3) get a life!

Posted by hometown | Report as abusive

It is easy to blame the wealthy or the banks when poverty increases, but the reality is that we are seeing the effects of a recession and of incompetence on the side of the administration at creating anything that would look like a recovery. But who would want to blame our charismatic president? Certainly, a guy as nice as him should know something about economics, right?
We should expect more poverty across the country as this white house ruins our economic system.

Posted by JustProduce | Report as abusive

Just watch the documentary: “Inequality for All”. It tells the full story.

Posted by lotuslandjoe | Report as abusive

There is no excuse for looting, shooting, and throwing molotov cocktails. Period.

Posted by AnnonReuters | Report as abusive