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Job Sprawl and the Suburbanization of Poverty

Job Sprawl and the Suburbanization of Poverty

The Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution has released a report on job decentralization and the challenges of the poor as more and more  jobs move to the suburbs. "Understanding the association between employment decentralization and the suburbanization of poverty is important because of the continued growth of the suburban poor," write the report's authors. "In 2005, the suburban poor outnumbered their city counterparts by almost one million. And during the first year of the recession that began in 2007, suburbs added more than twice as many poor people as did their cities." The report, "Job Sprawl and the Suburbanization of Poverty" by Steven Raphael and Michael A. Stoll, suggests that the responsiveness of the poor to the outward movement of jobs, particularly racial and ethnic minority poor, does not appear to be as strong as that for the population as a whole. Are the poor hurt by their inability to readily follow jobs? The researchers suggest the answer is yes, at least as measured by earnings and employment. In particular, the poor are put at a disadvantage by low car ownership rates and the lack of adequate transit options. Researchers said the potential higher commute costs are likely a disincentive to obtaining suburban jobs.

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