Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Life in the ‘burbs isn’t as sweet as it used to be

by Patt Morrison

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An advertisement for home loan modifications hangs on a suburban telephone pole on August 25, 2008, in Moreno Valley, California. David McNew/Getty Images

Safe, clean, tree-lined streets, green grass and good schools – that’s the image we conjure up when we think about life in the suburbs, but a new study offers an alternative and stark reality.

The poor population in our nation’s suburbs has grown by 53 percent since 2000; by comparison, urban poverty grew by 26 percent. Currently, 55 percent of the nation’s poor live in suburbs. The dramatic increase has some of the nation’s suburban municipalities scratching their heads trying to figure out how to provide social services on tight budgets with limited resources.


How are communities coming together to support the declining middle-class? What will the suburbs look like in 5, 10, or 20 years if the U.S. stays on the same trajectory? In today’s economic climate, would the Brady Bunch be issued a foreclosure notice? Could they afford to live in the ‘burbs?


Scott Allard, associate professor with a focus on social welfare and poverty issues at the University of Chicago

Elizabeth Kneebone, senior research associate with a focus on urban and suburban poverty at Brookings Institute

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