Skip to comments.America’s Best Kept Secret: Rising Suburban Poverty
Posted on 12/27/2011 2:12:04 PM PST by SeekAndFind
For years, the food pantry in Crystal Lake, Ill., a bedroom community 50 miles west of Chicago, has catered to the suburban areas poor, homeless and unemployed. But Cate Williams, the head of the pantry, has noticed a striking change in the makeup of the needy in the past year or two. Some families that once pulled down six-figure incomes and drove flashy cars are now turning to the pantry for help. A few of them donated food and money to the pantry before their luck soured, according to Williams.
People will shyly say to me, You know, I used to give money and food to you guys. Now I need your help, Williams told The Fiscal Times last week. Most of the folks we see now are people who never took a handout before. They were comfortable, able to feed themselves, to keep gas in the car, and keep a nice roof over their head.
Suburbia always had its share of low-income families and the poor, but the sharp surge in suburban poverty is beginning to grab the attention of demographers, government officials and social service advocates.
The past decade has marked the most significant rise in poverty in modern times. One in six people in the U.S. are poor, according to the latest census data, compared to one-in-ten Americans in 2004. This surge in the percentage of the poor is fueling concerns about a growing disparity between the rich and poor -- the 99 percent versus the 1 percent in the parlance of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
But contrary to stereotypes that the worst of poverty is centered in urban areas or isolated rural areas and Appalachia, the suburbs have been hit hardest in recent years, an analysis of census data reveals. If you take a drive through the suburbs and look at the strip mall vacancies, the For Sale signs, and the growing lines at unemployment offices and social services providers, youd have to be blind not to see the economic crisis is hitting home in a way these areas have never experienced, said Donna Cooper, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.
In the wake of the Great Recession, poverty rolls are rising at a more rapid pace in the suburbs than in cities or rural communities. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of suburban households below the poverty line increased by 53 percent, compared to a 23 percent increase in poor households in urban areas, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of census data.
Last year, there were 2.7 million more suburban households below the federal poverty level than urban households, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was the first time on record that Americas cities didnt contain the highest absolute number of households living in poverty. There are many reasons for the dramatic turnabout in the geographic profile of poverty.
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The intentional destruction of the middle class continues
Re-distribution of wealth so that inner-city dwellers can continue their 4th generation of welfare-dependency, 75%+ out-of-wedlock birthrates, and gang/drug lifestyles are taking their toll on those who want to earn their own way, work for a living, and provide for their OWN families.
It will come down to a Civil War II, and it won't be pretty, but those who understand WHY the second Amendment is there will be okay.
I hope you don't believe this to be a recent occurrence or that fault can be ascribed to one party.
The "Progressives" have been working on this for over 100 years.
And, between the Free Trade/Off-shoring movement....and the "Housing Bubble" deflation, they may have hit their sweet spot.
The driveby twits have it all ready to go, Newt-Towns, Romneyburgs, Perryvilles, etc.
In Obamaspeak, it’s called “fairness”. He’s leveling the playing field.
The govt is squeezing the hell out of little towns like mine. They really don’t like us out here being free to interfere with their “greenways”.
Forgive me if I don’t have a ton of sympathy for these people. They spent the last decade living the high life and living well beyond their means. They bought big homes, flashy cars, had opulent vacations, and paid for it all with borrowed money. Meanwhile my family lived in a modest home, we drove an older car that was paid for, we paid cash for what we needed, and put away money, food, and necessities against a rainy day and the in-crowd derided us as ‘cultish’ and as ‘paranoid. As if the good times and the gravy train would never stop.
And then it did.
So now it is hard times and my family is doing pretty good. We bought a fantastic ranch and home for less than 20% of what it cost to build a few years back. We own it outright while the people who built it are now living in an apartment in Denver. The pantry is full, so is the gun safe, and we’re doing just fine.
Call us cultish and paranoid if you want, we’re doing better than the proverbial Joneses we’re supposed to be keeping up with.
Dave Ramsey? Is that you?
“This surge in the percentage of the poor is fueling concerns about a growing disparity between the rich and poor — the 99 percent versus the 1 percent in the parlance of the Occupy Wall Street movement.”
Poor Michelle. Nobody told her that she’s a nitwit before she scribbled her 50 IQ screed. Now the world knows - Michelle is a clod! But that’s to be expected from female affirmative action hires.
Had this knuckle-dragging bimbo looked at her own story, the part where she scribbles this: “One in six people in the U.S. are poor, according to the latest census data, compared to one-in-ten Americans in 2004.”
Her pea-brain might have made a connection and wrote of differences between the Bush presidency and the obuma train disaster.
This is what Obammy calls “progress.” Soon, we will all acheive equal poverty in outcome (except for the internationalists, technocrats and their assistants) and then Utopia will arrive. 47% of Americans say they are happy with the job the Kenyan is doing. So I guess we are headed to a future of happy third world status.
Someone said that the election of Obama was an IQ test for the American people and they failed. Half of us seem committed to that state of being as long as the techonocrats tell the stupid that they are “smart” for seeking one another’s poverty and enslavement.
Please try to be charitable. Most people do not have what it takes to go against the grain. Did you ever ask yourself why the bulk of the population was being intentionally misled?
Many of the gullible are the same barking seals who show up for Frank Luntz focus groups, eagerly twiddling knobs every time they hear their favorite buzzword.
Their understanding of cause-and-effect is nil, apparently.
Their low density housing consumes resources and harms the environment in a manner that the Left cannot easily manage or coerce. Impoverish them and they will either move into high density government approved housing or become clients for scraps which the Leftist managers can throw them. Maybe both.
>>It will come down to a Civil War II, and it won’t be pretty, but those who understand WHY the second Amendment is there will be okay.
Tough talk, but not going to happen. When they try to confiscate the guns, people will simply give them up and roll over, with very, very few exceptions (maybe you are the exception?)
How else can you explain things like a trailer park in Indiana where more than 50% of the residents are registered sex offenders, and nobody has ‘taken care of the problem’. Everybody is macho on the internet, the reality is far, far from that.
Near my neighborhood is a Goodwill. I never noticed such a nearly full parking lot as just prior to this Christmas. I concluded times are now more difficult than I had understood. Maybe it was those 180 dollar jordan sneakers.
This situation can only be relieved by higher taxes.
The peons will continue to be bred by the government for their vote.
We moved here in the semi-boonies six years ago and inherited the old community foodbank phone number.
Been getting enough calls lately that we found out the new number to pass on to our now frequent callers.
I have been seeing you on more threads recently and you are nailing what I am thinking...
“The intentional destruction of the middle class continues”
I hope you don’t believe this to be a recent occurrence or that fault can be ascribed to one party.
The “Progressives” have been working on this for over 100 years.
And, between the Free Trade/Off-shoring movement....and the “Housing Bubble” deflation, they may have hit their sweet spot.
It has been a long time destruction process...brought on by Socialists and Free Trade Communists....from both parties.
“Did you ever ask yourself why the bulk of the population was being intentionally misled?”
Most of them want to be misled. They want someone else to take care of them and make their hard choices for them and then they want someone else to clean up their messes for them. I know I should be charitable to these people but the fact of the matter is that when things someday improve most of them will have learned nothing. And they’ll turn right around and laugh and point at people like us.
Who is ‘Dave Ramsey’?
I used to think *exactly* the same way, and honestly most of the time I still do. It really doesn't bother me to see someone I know who's lived "the high life" above and beyond their means crash and burn. Yep, I know a few folks like that and I haven't an ounce of pity for them. I used to say to my wife "What are we doing wrong? We don't live like that, what are we doing wrong?"
Her answer was "nothing, we're simply living within our means" and she was right. I still remember losing my job in 2003, and worked hard to finish my college degree at age 43, find a new job and keep the family out of debt. In many ways, my family was lucky. We remained practical and frugal even though I was able to find a very good job at a slightly higher salary than I was making, and I continue to make a very good living.
Now I see those same friends that blew every dollar they had and then some while they were living the high life, now living like paupers and crying. Some have lost their homes already, others are in the process of doing so. I have zero sympathy for them.
I also have friends who frankly never had much, have worked hard their entire lives, and struggled as much in good times as in bad to keep their heads above water. These folks never drove new cars, never went on fancy vacations, never blew money they didn't have because at times they never really had much. They're honest folks who paid their bills and just didn't seem to have much left over afterwards. This group was just 'getting by' in the good times.
This group is the one hurting the most right now. I went down to the local food pantry in Lockport (IL) on Tuesday the 20th to make a donation. I walked in and had to take a number just to talk to someone. I witnessed 35 families being helped with food in the hour I sat there. When my "turn" finally came, the nice elderly lady I met with asked if I'd been there before. I answered "No." She proceeded to hand me some forms to fill out. When I told her I wasn't there looking for help, I was there to help the look on her face was priceless.
I asked how much the pantry needed and wrote a check. I asked if they needed help delivering food or working the pantry but they had all the volunteers they needed, what they really needed was money to pay for the food they were buying (at a discount) from some of the local food stores and the Will County food pantry. Before I walked out the door, I left my name and phone number with instructions to call me if they needed addtional help. So far the phone hasn't rang.
I walked out the door back to my vehicle and sat in the parking lot for awhile. I was completely unprepared for what happened next. I continued watching people go in and out of the food pantry for awile. Some walked up, others drove up in cars ranging from 5-10 years old or older. (My own vehicle is a 2003.)
It was when I realized that pretty much every family that walked in and out that door looked like my family that I just began shaking.
You see, I live in a bubble. I leave my house every day, I drive 5 minutes to a train station, catch a train for an hour to go to work, I have to walk past these OWS idiots to get to the office every day, then at the end of the day I walk to the train station, catch the train home, and pull my vehicle into the garage. This happens 5, maybe 6 days a week. Typically, I never leave home once I'm in or on the weekends so I don't see what's happening out there beyond my own "bubble."
Let me tell you, I was completely unprepared for what I saw going on in this economy outside my own "bubble." Sure, the folks who lived beyond their means and are now screwing the rest of us by walking away from their mortgages because they're "under water" or losing their homes because they overbought - I have no sympathy for. They were greedy, living beyond their means and that's the price they pay. I'm with you on that.
But there's another whole group of folks that look like you and I, who've played by the rules, done their best to do the right thing and paid their bills on time - and this group is really hurting. They're right on that edge of poverty. This group IMO deserves our help.
The Obama Economy has forced an additional 14,000,000 people onto food stamps in under 3 years. Aside from helping out the local food pantries, the best thing we can do for them is to improve the economy by booting this worthless POC that sits in the White House today. I'm committed to doing both.
Years ago, a guy I was in the service with bought a typical house out in the burbs and got his phone service.
Within the first couple of days, his wife was beseiged by men calling and asking for various women. A little digging yielded that the number belonged a defunct Angel’s Escort Service. The calls finally stopped on their own.
The government keeps the poverty numbers up in several ways.
One way is that they do not count as income the money that people receive for welfare, housing, food stamps, free medical, aid for children, free meals at schols, etc. So they may show an income well below the poverty level but if you add it all together they are actually living at a middle class income level.
In my neck of the woods the city government has been shutting down public housing and moving teants out of the city into subdivisions throughout the county.
Also, we may be in an economic meltdown but that hasn’t slowed the federal government down. They are still bringing in new black, hispanic and muslim immigrants and many are getting placed in subdivision rentals on the taxpayers tab.
These people are all living on the taxpayers backs and living in better housing than many hard working taxpayers can afford for themselves.
Lyndon Johnson fired the first shot with his War on Poverty.
Barry Hussein Obama is finishing us off with his War on Prosperity.
Wealth re-distribution just puts everyone at the same miserable level since we all know the Government "re-distributes" the money to itself.
Great minds think alike.
WARNING: I pride myself on eschewing political-correctness.
And yes there are a lot of people who are finding it hard to make it. They didn't buy the fancy cars or huge houses but now that they only have half or less of the income they use to have things are tight.
Nicely said. You have convinced me to donate some money and possibly some time to a local food pantry here.
I’m somewhere inbetween. I grew up poor and had to scrape most of my life. Finally I got a job that paid well and I went a little wild. I maxed myself out, though, it wasn’t the economy that did it to me. But I had to constrict around the same time everyone else did, late 2008. I know it’s my own fault, though. So I just tightened the belt back up, returned to my old scraping ways, held onto most of what I’d accumulated during the wild times, and... I’m more or less okay. Got a little debt, got a little savings. Got a nice place to live, but no car. I’ll be on a money diet for another year or so, but when it’s over, I do intend not to make that mistake again.
There are 4 known, open food pantries within a 10-15 minute drive of my house. If I expand that to 15-30 minutes, there are more than 20. As best I could tell by visiting food pantry home pages, most of them sprung up in the last 3 years.
I don't think that's a coincidence by a longshot. I do think much of what's going on in our economy is by design, to bring down our standard of living along with that of much of the rest of the world.
I'm determined to fight that with whatever tools are at my disposal.
Thank you for your post and your generosity. Not too long ago I was in a bubble like you but God had led me out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways.
We don’t have a lot of money to give, but we can all do little things. My 11 year old volunteers at the food pantry at church. We had our neighbor over for Christmas dinner so he wouldn’t be alone. We always have a collection bag for Goodwill in the laundry room and go to the donation center about every month. At work we collected a truck load of goods for a charity in Atlanta that does fantastic work helping people who are not on government assistance but need a little help.
Sounds like you're on the right track, stay the course. Best wishes to you in the New Year.
Re your post 10: Very Good!!
He's got a way of breaking that bubble on us don't He?
For me, it was last Monday morning (12/19) as I was waking up. The alarm went off and I flipped the alarm switch to radio and heard a story about folks walking into Toys R US, WalMart, Target and other stores paying off other folk's lay-away accounts trying to help those in need.
A half hour later I saw the same story on the local early morning news. Shortly afterwards as I had my morning coffee, there was another story in the local paper about a woman who had her children's toys on lay-away at the local K-Mart. When she went to pay it off, she discovered a good samaritan had already done that for her.
That woman then decided to use the money that she would've used to pay off her lay-away account to pay off someone elses' at the store. Clearly, she "got it."
I about lost it right there at the kitchen table and my wife noticed something was wrong. As I handed her the paper I could only point to the article.
I could feel the 'tapping on my shoulder' that the man upstairs wanted me to do something, and part of me really wanted to run out at that moment and go to a few stores just to pay off a few lay-away accounts.
As my wife talked me down from that idea, the problem with it is that you really don't know who you're helping. As she explained it, some of her friends used lay-away to keep the toys out of the house and the kids from snooping. There was no guarantee I'd be helping someone who really needed it.
She works for our Church, so she hears all the terrible things people are going through in this economy, specially this time of year. The food pantry was her idea, she left it up to me to execute it.
God bless her soul, she knew what I was walking into when I went there. Me, I had no idea. Somewhere between her and the Lord they conspired together to break the bubble I was living in. I'm normally pretty emotional around Christmas time, having my bubble popped like that turned me into a complete emotional wreck, but now that my eyes are open to what's really going on, it's going to be pretty hard to turn a blind eye to it...
We should not allow others to pit us against one another with faulty dilemmas that claim we must choose between ideals of reliance, charity, responsibility and sympathy.
LOL! Too true.
I went and am still going through something similar.
What comes around, goes around.
You are so right in this comment. We always use to say
“there but for the GRACE OF GOD go I” when seeing someone in difficulty. Life can throw some pretty hard curves at you no matter how much you think you have prepared and planned. I believe I am called by Christ to be humble, thankful and charitable.
If food prices keep rising we will se a whole lot more of us needing help.
We are a lot like Megan.Why should we be charitable to anyone who looked down upon us because we didn’t buy the flashy car or the latest doodad?They were not being misled they were stupid and thought times would always be good.Now they are not and they have to live in the mess they made.
You apparently missed out on the 100% of "expert" financial advice programs and government press releases that insisted housing values would never go down. You apparently did not notice that national bankruptcy laws were made super-strict just prior to the housing crash.
I see nice and not so nice houses for sale here abouts. Family farms, too. And land/acreage. Houses stand empty at a rate of about 10%.
Bad time to sell. Tough time to hold.
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