Surban Poverty on Long Island

Scott Allard, associate professor at the University of Chicago, defined the connotative meanings of urban and suburban poverty on September 26, 2013 Hofstra University. He talked about the truth that lies behind poverty in the surrounding communities.

“Urban means poor and suburban equals opportunity,” he stated at the Changing Geography of Poverty and the American Safety Net Conference.

The community is labeled based off the people within it; Mostly African-American communities are labeled as urban while mostly Caucasian communities are labeled as suburban. Despite the connotative perspectives, Allard stated that there is no formal definition of a suburb because it is more than geography.

According to Allard, in 1990, urban communities had a population of 9,459 million people while the suburbs had 8,701 million people. The numbers drastically increased in 2010, with now 11,041 million people living in urban communities and 13,780 million people living in the suburbs. Allard states this change occurred because poverty rates are twice as high, and suburbs continue to increase their wealth at a higher pace. The poverty rates are twice as high in cities, but the rates increase at a higher pace in suburbs.

There are four key items that causes these trends; The changes in the labor market. Job markets do not offer as many opportunities to those that are uneducated, because the majority of jobs require college degrees. Changes in population also helps contribute to these trends; the rise of single female households contribute to the decrease of families not moving into the suburbs because there is only one paycheck given to family as opposed to two. The third key item is immigration and migration. As Latinos migrate to America, they’re going into more suburban areas compared to when they first arrived and went to urban areas. The last key item is the collapse of the housing market. More houses tend to go up for foreclosure in good communities causing the urban areas to be more overpopulated.

“Public programs will do better in urban and suburban communities looking at other determining factors” said Allard. He claims that the safety net will adapt to the needs of the people. The safety nets are public programs such as welfare, SNAP and Medicaid. Allard states the perception gap will change as well, changing how society looks at urban cities and suburbs.

-Davetta Belton, Secretary 

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