A shocking report from Brookings exposes just how massive America’s poverty problem is. While substantial reductions in poverty were made during the 1990’s, America’s poor have been rocked by the dual economic downturns since 2000.
The result is that poverty grew at twice the rate of U.S. population growth from 2000 – 2008, and now encompasses 39.1 million Americans.
If one were to expand the definition of poverty to merely ‘poor’ (yet still very poor), then a eye-popping 30% of the nation lives no higher than twice the poverty base line.
Brookings: In 2008, 91.6 million people—more than 30 percent of the nation’s population—fell below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. More individuals lived in families with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of poverty line (52.5 million) than below the poverty line (39.1 million) in 2008. Between 2000 and 2008, large suburbs saw the fastest growing low-income populations across community types and the greatest uptick in the share of the population living under 200 percent of poverty.
Here’s where it gets even more ridiculous — If you break down the data to individual areas, then there’s at least ten U.S. cities with poverty rates of around 30%. Moreover, Brookings latest research highlights how poverty has been getting worse especially fast in the suburbs, thus the U.S. is faced with the challenges of suburban poverty like never before: