Cities Where Suburban Poverty Is Skyrocketing

Print Email

10. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich.
> Pct. growth, suburban poor population: 114.7%
> Suburban poverty rate: 13.3% (35th highest)
> Suburban share of metro poor population: 59.4% (41st highest)
> 10-yr. population change: -3.5% (3rd lowest)

Between 2000 and 2011, the number of people living in poverty in the suburbs of the Detroit metro area more than doubled, from roughly 211,000 to nearly 454,000. At 13.3%, the area had a higher suburban poverty rate than the majority of the nation’s large metro areas. Detroit’s poor population grew even as the metro area’s population itself declined by 3.5% in the past decade. Further, the population within city limits of Detroit fell by a stunning 21% in that time, according to Brookings. The economy of Detroit has suffered as well. Between 2000 to 2011, the area lost more than 19% of its jobs. The Detroit metro area also had among the worst five-year wage growth and the lowest five-year increase in high-tech output, according to the Milken Institute.

9. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.
> Pct. growth, suburban poor population: 127.9%
> Suburban poverty rate: 7.8% (8th lowest)
> Suburban share of metro poor population: 56.8% (44th highest)
> 10-yr. population change: 10.5% (91st lowest)

Minneapolis had a suburban poverty rate of less than 8% in 2011, one of the lowest among large metro area in the United States that year. However, the number of poor residents in the Twin Cities’ suburbs has exploded in recent years, rising from less than 90,000 to more than 200,000 between 2000 and 2011. The rise in poverty rates in some of these suburbs followed rapid construction during the prerecession housing boom, according to the Star Tribune. In the past five years through the first quarter of 2013, home prices throughout the metro area fell by nearly 20%, according to the FHFA.

Also Read: Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2014

8. Provo-Orem, Utah
> Pct. growth, suburban poor population: 128.6%
> Suburban poverty rate: 9.4% (20th lowest)
> Suburban share of metro poor population: 53.1% (43rd lowest)
> 10 yr. population change: 39.8% (4th highest)

The number of poor suburban residents living in the Provo area rose from 17,403 in 2000 to 39,784 in 2011. Although the area struggled with large declines in home prices, which fell by 20% over five years through the first quarter of 2013, the economy has otherwise boomed. The Provo area has had relatively low unemployment rates in 2011, when just 6.7% of workers were unemployed, versus 8.9% nationwide. Also, between 2000 and 2011, employment in the Provo area increased by 17.5%. Among the reasons for this growth, the area’s population rose by 40% between 2000 and 2010.

7. Boise City-Nampa, Idaho
> Pct. growth, suburban poor population: 129.7%
> Suburban poverty rate: 15.3% (16th highest)
> Suburban share of metro poor population: 62.8% (34th highest)
> 10-yr. population change: 32.6% (11th highest)

While the city of Boise had a 17.9% city poverty rate, well below the 21.7% overall rate for cities in the United States, its suburbs had one of the nation’s higher poverty rates of any large metro area. While the city population rose by just 5.5% between 2000 and 2010, the population of the suburbs rose by more than 50%. Boise was hit especially hard during the housing crisis. Even in early 2013, home prices were down more than 28% from five years before. The economic crisis cost many residents their jobs. After bottoming at 2.6% for 2006, the annual unemployment rate in Boise eventually rose to as high as 9.0% in 2010.

6. Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz.
> Pct. growth, suburban poor population: 134.2%
> Suburban poverty rate: 13.3% (34th highest)
> Suburban share of metro poor population: 37.9% (18th lowest)
> 10-yr. population change: 28.9% (18th highest)

From 2000 to 2010, the Phoenix area population grew by nearly 29%, among the highest rates of growth of all metro areas. Much of that growth took place in the suburbs — the 59.2% growth in the suburban population was the highest of all metro areas. Poverty likely grew as a result of the most recent recession, as the Phoenix housing market was hit harder than most. As a result, the annual average unemployment rate reached a recent high of 9.7% in 2010. Fortunately, things are turning around in the Phoenix area. The housing market is currently performing better than any other, according to the FHFA’s most recent Home Price Index release. In the first quarter of 2013, home prices were up 15.3% from the year before — the largest increase in the country.