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Poverty Matters: It's Now 50/50, Chicago region poverty growth is a suburban story.

Poverty Matters: It's Now 50/50, Chicago region poverty growth is a suburban story.

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Nationwide, the number of people in poverty in the suburbs has now
surpassed the number of people in poverty in central cities. Cities
have long been thought to be home to the most and worst poverty.
However, in the past several decades, the suburbs have experienced the
greatest growth in poverty. In this brief, the Social IMPACT Research
Center examines the distribution of poverty in Chicago and the suburbs
over two decades. The findings suggest that from 1990 to 2011, poverty
grew much more in the suburbs than in Chicago, and consequently,
poverty became more equally distributed between Chicago and the
suburbs.
Nationwide, the number of people in poverty in the suburbs has now
surpassed the number of people in poverty in central cities. Cities
have long been thought to be home to the most and worst poverty.
However, in the past several decades, the suburbs have experienced the
greatest growth in poverty. In this brief, the Social IMPACT Research
Center examines the distribution of poverty in Chicago and the suburbs
over two decades. The findings suggest that from 1990 to 2011, poverty
grew much more in the suburbs than in Chicago, and consequently,
poverty became more equally distributed between Chicago and the
suburbs.

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09/13/2013

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Poverty matters
    N   o .    1
It’s Now 50/50:chIcago regIoNPoverty growth Is asuburbaN story
P m01
SUBURBS 
70%60%50%30%40%20%10%0%
1990 20112000
 
34%39%50%66%61%50%
CHICAGOSUBURBS
N
ationwide, the number of people in poverty in the suburbs has nowsurpassed the number of people in poverty in central cities. Citieshave long been thought to be home to the most and worst poverty.However, in the past several decades, the suburbs have experienced thegreatest growth in poverty. In this brief, theSocial IMPACT ResearchCenterexamines the distribution of poverty in Chicago and the suburbs
over two decades. The ndings suggest that from 1990 to 2011, poverty
grew much more in the suburbs than in Chicago, and consequently,poverty became more equally distributed between Chicago and thesuburbs.
Key FINdINgs
In 1990,  n i f  ci in’ p pplinli in  . b 2011,   f  in’ ppplin liin in     lf, nin nlql n f ppl xpinin p li in   in ci.t 95% in in  n f ppl xpinin p in   f p  29% ll pplin  f1990  2011, n iln  ll  ll il n ni pxpin  in in p in   n inci. wn i   ni f l  p, inlininl inn, l f piipin, pln,, n in,   xpin l fln  f in n ci f 1990  2011.
123share oFchIcago regIoNPoPuLatIoN IN Poverty INchIcago aNd the suburbs1990-2011
sePtember 2013
Written and researched by Jennifer Clary, NicoleKreisberg, and Amy TerpstraEditorial assistance provided by Ariel Ruiz Soto andAllyson Stewart
 
d s n vil
 
To explore poverty growth in Chicago and the suburbs, the SocialIMPACT Research Center (IMPACT) analyzed Public Use Microdata from
the 1990 and 2000 5% state sample decennial censuses and the 2009-2011 5% state sample American Community Survey. IMPACT then ran
frequencies of four demographic variables – age, race, ethnicity, andnativity – as well as six variables related to poverty – poverty status,educational attainment, labor force participation status, industry, annual
wages, and household income – over the 1990 and 2000 samples and the2009-2011 sample.
gpi
To achieve consistent and comparable geographies over time, IMPACT
aggregated Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs), Census-designatedgeographies of about 100,000 people each, into two categories: the city
of Chicago and its suburbs. For the purposes of this brief, the suburbs
include the non-Chicago portion of Cook County, as well as DeKalb,DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties.
Poverty Denition
The U.S. Census Bureau calculates poverty by tallying up a family’sannual income and determining if the amount falls below the povertythreshold for the family’s size. If the annual income does fall below thethreshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered to be
in poverty. Non-relatives, such as housemates, do not count. The ofcial
poverty thresholds are set annually by the U.S. Census Bureau and donot vary geographically.
data aNd deFINItIoNs:how to uNderstaNdthIs brIeF.
WILLKENDALLKANEMcHENRY LAKECOOK DuPAGEGRUNDYDeKALB
 
CHICAGOSUBURBS
 
$5,742$7,329$8,958$11,511$11,484$14,657$17,916$23,021$22,968$29,314$35,832$46,042
Family SizeExtremePoverty(0-49% FPL)Poverty(0-99% FPL)LowIncome(100-199% FPL)
P m02
chIcagometroPoLItaN area2011FederaL PovertythreshoLds
 
resources oNthIs toPIc 
and 
Nationwide, the number of people in poverty in the suburbs has nowsurpassed the number of people in poverty in central cities.
1
Central cities,long thought to be home to the most and worst poverty, generally stillhave higher poverty rates than the suburbs; however, the suburbs haveexperienced the greatest growth in poverty. Moreover, in the country’slargest metropolitan areas, the suburbs have become home to the largestshare of the nation’s poor. This means that across the United States,poverty is becoming more equally distributed between cities and suburbs.
Despite the prevalent narrative that migration from central cities to
suburbs has driven suburban poverty growth, the reality is that there isno single driving force behind it. Rather, a complicated set of factors have
contributed to the re-balancing of poverty between cities and suburbs,including economic decline, job movement, growth in low-wage work,
stagnating and falling wages, overall population growth, demographicchanges, and shifts in housing affordability and policies.
2
These changeshave happened gradually over several decades and now culminate innearly unprecedented levels of poverty both nationally and locally. This Poverty Matters brief examines several factors related to poverty to
help explain how poverty has changed in the Chicago region:
Populion hng 
helps us understand how variations in the overallpopulation contribute to increases in the number of peopleexperiencing poverty.
ag 
is useful to understand poverty changes because certain age
groups—notably children—are much more likely to experience
poverty.
ril nd hni kup  wll  niviy 
(whether people are bornin the United States or elsewhere), help us see how demographic
bacKgrouNd:how aNd why Is PovertychaNgINg IN the chIcago regIoN?
1 Ross, M. (2010).
Challenges associated with the suburbanization of poverty 
. Presentation
to the Community Foundation for Prince George’s County. Washington, DC: Brookings
Institution.
2 Kneebone, E., & Berube, A. (2013).
Confronting suburban poverty in America
. Washington,DC: Brookings Institution Press.
P m03

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