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Suburbanization of Poverty in the Bay Area

FRBDespite its persistent association with the "inner city," poverty has shifted toward the suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area over the past decade. Using data from the 2000 census and the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates, this research brief examines the changing geography of poverty in the Bay Area and its implications for the community development field. Using data from U.S. Census Bureau, this research brief analyzes the changing geography of poverty in the Bay Area, yielding the following conclusions: Household poverty rates have risen across the Bay Area, both in urban and suburban areas. The Bay Area’s total household poverty rate increased 1.1 percentage points during the period of analysis, from 2000 to 2009. The population in poverty rose faster in suburban census tracts and varied across racial groups and nativity status. The number of people living in poverty rose 16 percent in the suburbs, compared to 7 percent in urban areas. Blacks and Hispanics saw the greatest percentage growth in suburban poverty, as did the native?born population. The share of the poor living in suburban tracts has increased across all racial groups, but the change is highest among Blacks. The share of the poor Black population living in the suburbs increased more than 7 percentage points, whereas the next highest group, Asians, increased 2 percentage points. Changes in the percent of urban and suburban residents in poverty also varied between racial categories and nativity status. Poverty rates increased across almost all groups – except Asians and the foreign?born population living in suburban areas. The poverty rates for suburban Blacks and urban Hispanics each rose more than two percentage points. Access to transit decreased for the population in poverty. While the percent of people living within 0.5 miles of a rail station did not change significantly for the total population, it did decrease 1.5 percentage points for the poor population. Furthermore, the percentage of poor people living more than 4 miles from a rail station increased 3 percentage points.

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