Poor economy carries more Americans to extremely poor neighborhoods

November 03, 2011 10:12AM

Driven by the recession, more Americans are living in neighborhoods classified as extremely impoverished, according to a Brookings Institution report cited by Bloomberg News.

The report found 2.2 million more Americans live in neighborhoods with a poverty rate greater than 40 percent today than did in 2000. That marks a 33 percent increase in the last decade, compared to a 29 percent drop during the 1990s.

Two-thirds of the extremely poor neighborhoods are in urban areas, but it was the very poor suburbs that saw the biggest population growth. The number of Americans in extremely poor urban areas rose 16 percent, while the number in corresponding suburban areas gained 37 percent.

The population concentration in poor neighborhoods means more Americans are being educated in worse schools and are being faced with fewer job opportunities.

Elizabeth Kneebone, a lead author of the report, attributed the shift to the decade’s two downturns and falling household incomes. National household income fell to its lowest level in a decade last year, and a recent study showed the number of people living in poverty rose to a 52-year high. [Bloomberg News]