Read

User menu

Search form

How the Increase in Suburban Poverty Is Tied to Homelessness

How the Increase in Suburban Poverty Is Tied to Homelessness
Tue, 4/17/2018 - by Avery Phillips

Suburban poverty is becoming a common term in both real estate and economics. Since the housing bubble burst a decade ago, suburban populations have increased across the country, and there has meanwhile been an influx of people moving into cities. Amid these trends, one disturbing fact remains: Along with urban poverty, suburban poverty continues to grow and, with it, homelessness.
 

Suburban poverty rates

The demographic of people who choose to live in suburbs has been changing over the last several decades. Suburban neighborhoods have long been the residential area of choice for people with kids, as these areas tend to be safe and provide enough space in which to raise a family. But the housing crisis of 2008, which displaced millions of families who thought they could afford to purchase homes, shattered the U.S. economy and upended this trend.

In the years since, as the housing market has stabilized, suburban areas now offer the most affordable housing prices for people with families – which helps explain the increase in poverty populations of suburban neighborhoods. According to research by Ohio University, in 2015 there were 16.5 million people living below the poverty line in U.S. suburban neighborhoods. That contrasts with 13.5 million people living below the poverty line in cities.
 

Increase in homelessness

There are many factors at play when looking at the increase of America’s homeless population, but all of them are largely rooted in income inequality. Thirty percent of all Americans now fall under the poverty line, with an even higher number living just at or above that imaginary line. These paycheck to paycheck, stagnant wage populations are only one bad circumstance away from falling into homelessness.

According to a Zillow study of metropolitan areas and homelessness, even a small increase in rent prices are shown to have a correlation with homeless population numbers. In large metropolitan cities like New York and Los Angeles, anywhere between 2,500 and 3,000 more people would fall into homelessness with only a five percent average rent increase.

Another variable that exacerbates the trend is the criminalization of homelessness. Many cities have administered laws that outlaw panhandling, as well as sleeping or even sitting on sidewalks or other public areas. Individuals who are caught breaking the law are ticketed, at which point they risk going to jail or being set back financially even further in order to pay the ticket, creating a vicious cycle of debt and rising payments.

In these instances, among others, homeless people remain unassisted and often find themselves at risk of committing crimes.
 

Millennial housing trend

The majority of people living in poverty are largely adults who are not working, followed by adults without a high school degree and adults with disabilities. The highest demographic after that are single moms. With schedules that involve work and taking care of their children, it can be difficult for moms to go back to school. However, one of the lowest demographics of people living in poverty are adults with a college degree, at only five percent.

Millennials with college degrees are the largest population currently moving into cities, and they are also the population waiting the longest to have children, which means they don’t need that suburban lawn. Millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the largest generation in the American workforce and this is noted in today's housing market trends.

It seems backward that instead of doing more to help our vulnerable populations find their way out of homelessness, cities are increasingly making it illegal to be homeless – thinking that will somehow be enough of a push for these populations to achieve better circumstances. The National Coalition for the Homeless recognizes the many circumstances that lead people into homelessness. And unless systematic action is taken to combat those circumstances, the increase in suburban poverty and homelessness will continue.

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Goma water movement, Lucha, Congolese fighting, Congo war, grassroots movement, access to safe water

The Congolese group Lucha successfully mobilized thousands to march for the right to water in the city of Goma. Now, the group is challenging the regime of President Joseph Kabila.

A special episode dedicated to the most militarized land in the world—one that you may not even have ever heard of.

Restoring Internet Freedom Order, FCC rules, net neutrality, Internet freedom, fast line, Big Telecom, telecommunications industry, Ajit Pai

Access matters, and unequal access can have onerous consequences for those who can’t afford the fast lane.

Brexit, Brexit opposition, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, no-deal Brexit

“This historic defeat will show that the government is deadlocked – and we now need to throw this back to the people and give them a final say," said Paul Butters of Best for Britain.

manosphere, incels, misogyny, black men, black women, racism, sexism, Black Manosphere

In response to the racism often targeted exclusively toward black men on majority white digital spaces, black males have created their own manosphere – where they rail against black women.

Goma water movement, Lucha, Congolese fighting, Congo war, grassroots movement, access to safe water

The Congolese group Lucha successfully mobilized thousands to march for the right to water in the city of Goma. Now, the group is challenging the regime of President Joseph Kabila.

#climatestrike, COP24, UN climate talks, carbon emissions, catastrophic climate change, climate movement, climate protests, climate demands

"Science has clearly told us that we need to act now to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming," the young climate activist said in calling for a day of global action on Friday.

A special episode dedicated to the most militarized land in the world—one that you may not even have ever heard of.

Global investors managing $32tn are urging governments to phase out all coal burning. Photograph: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Global investors managing $32 trillion issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning.

Restoring Internet Freedom Order, FCC rules, net neutrality, Internet freedom, fast line, Big Telecom, telecommunications industry, Ajit Pai

Access matters, and unequal access can have onerous consequences for those who can’t afford the fast lane.

rising emissions, climate catastrophe, Global Carbon Project, climate impacts, carbon emissions, carbon cuts

According to a new Global Carbon Project report, emissions are heading in the opposite direction to the deep cuts that are urgently needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Posted 6 days 13 hours ago
rising inequality, income inequality, global wealth, costs of inequality

Americans pay a steep price for not spreading their wealth around as well as other developed countries.

Posted 6 days 13 hours ago
Brexit, Brexit opposition, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, no-deal Brexit

“This historic defeat will show that the government is deadlocked – and we now need to throw this back to the people and give them a final say," said Paul Butters of Best for Britain.

Posted 5 days 4 hours ago

A special episode dedicated to the most militarized land in the world—one that you may not even have ever heard of.

Posted 3 days 12 hours ago
Restoring Internet Freedom Order, FCC rules, net neutrality, Internet freedom, fast line, Big Telecom, telecommunications industry, Ajit Pai

Access matters, and unequal access can have onerous consequences for those who can’t afford the fast lane.

Posted 4 days 15 hours ago
Restoring Internet Freedom Order, FCC rules, net neutrality, Internet freedom, fast line, Big Telecom, telecommunications industry, Ajit Pai

Access matters, and unequal access can have onerous consequences for those who can’t afford the fast lane.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Medioimages/Photodisc/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

By doing away with single-family zoning, the city takes on high rent, long commutes, and racism in real estate in one fell swoop.

Protesters on Sunday in Katowice, which is hosting the UN climate conference. Photograph: Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium/Barcroft Images

The move shocked delegates at a UN conference in Poland as ministers flew in for the final week of climate talks.

#climatestrike, COP24, UN climate talks, carbon emissions, catastrophic climate change, climate movement, climate protests, climate demands

"Science has clearly told us that we need to act now to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming," the young climate activist said in calling for a day of global action on Friday.

rising emissions, climate catastrophe, Global Carbon Project, climate impacts, carbon emissions, carbon cuts

According to a new Global Carbon Project report, emissions are heading in the opposite direction to the deep cuts that are urgently needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.