Huge changes in suburban poverty

As The Atlantic points out, the word “suburb” brings to mind a stereotype of cheery prosperity. Whatever truth might have once inspired that image is now colliding with major demographic shifts. New research from the Brookings Institution finds that over the last decade, poverty in American suburbs has overtaken cities (Atlantic, 5/20):

Between 2000 and 2011, the population living in American cities below the poverty line increased by 29 percent. During that same time, across the country in the suburbs of metropolitan areas as diverse as Atlanta and Detroit and Salt Lake City, the ranks of the poor grew by 64 percent. Today, more poor people live in the suburbs (16.4 million of them) than in U.S. cities (13.4 million), despite the perception that poverty remains a uniquely urban problem.

The research includes profiles of metropolitan areas across the country. The Greater Washington region’s profile finds the poverty rate still lower in suburbs, but the number of suburban poor has increased 55 percent. Read more about what is driving our local changes – and what the implications are for our region.

Related: Here’s a look at how nonprofits in Montgomery County are struggling to address the increase in suburban poverty. (WAMU, 5/20)

EDUCATION
– Studies have shown that the achievement gap between high and low-income children can begin forming as early as nine months old. Home visits from family support workers might be one way of preventing the gap from forming. (WaPo, 5/20)

– Montgomery County has an increasing trend of students failing math tests. What is causing the trend? Theories abound. (WaPo, 5/20)

Maybe students are stuck in a vortex of chaos and confusion due to the fact that the school system imposes a failing grade of “E” rather than the traditional “F.” E is for “Excellent!” F is for “Fail!”

NONPROFITS | NPR ran an interesting news segment on the work of Dan Pallotta, who argues in favor of a paradigm shift that would financially incentivize working in the nonprofit sector. Click the “Listen to the Story” box to hear it. (NPR, 5/17) Thanks very much to Nick Geisinger – founder of the Daily! – for passing this along.

HOUSING
– Opinion: To Curb Domestic Violence, Start With Housing by Terri Ludwig, President and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners (HuffPo, 5/9)

Major Campaign Donors Score Hefty City Subsidies (WAMU, 5/20) For the second time in a week…Steve Urkel!

TRANSIT | Maryland has announced plans to run MARC train service between D.C. and Baltimore on the weekends! At the moment, the only easy option for getting between the two is Amtrak, which is unreasonably expensive. (WAMU, 5/17)

Related: Columbia, Maryland, was originally designed to be a connection point that would bridge the geographic gap between Baltimore and D.C. It didn’t quite work, but its story is fascinating.


I hope everyone had a nice weekend, even though none of us won Powerball…unless the winner from Florida is a Daily reader?! Anyhow, my weekend was glorious, mostly because my girlfriend and I ran into Arnold Schwarzenegger at Georgetown’s graduation ceremony. We didn’t talk to him, but I assume that when he saw us, he thought, “Who is dis lovely couple dat I get to share da sidewalk with?” Life changing moment.

On a completely unrelated note, I’ve had Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man stuck in my head. Great tune!