Suburbs and the New American Poverty essay sample

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Suburbs and the New American Poverty

Alana Semuels, the author of the article “Suburbs and the New American Poverty” investigates the dramatic change of the American suburbs and the poverty, which has become increasingly a problem found here. The author stipulates that the poverty rose very quickly and created many tangible problems.

Still, they are not dealt with, as the majority of social-safety-net programs dedicated to poverty issues are located in urban centers. As poverty in suburbs increases, they become the traps for impoverished who cannot change their position. The growth of the suburban poverty can be explained both by the migration of the residents of downtowns in search of more affordable accommodation, available in suburbs, and by the stagnation of wages, experienced by the Americans after the recession.

The lack of middle-class jobs is another factor turning once middle-class areas into low-income-type ones. Lack of transit is one of the biggest problems of poor people in the suburbs, which makes it difficult for low-income residents to get to work or buy groceries. The needs of the increasingly racially diverse regions are also not addressed properly due to the underrepresentation of African American and Asian population in the local authorities. The unrests, crime, and lack of opportunities become common in the suburbs, changing their positive image of the American dream.

The fact that poor residents cannot reach opportunities that can help them to gradually get out of poverty is attributed to the lack of infrastructure and safety-net supports in the suburb communities. Many of the social-safety-net programs and philanthropy for nonprofits being concentrated in urban centers, suburban poor find themselves isolated and invisible to those who might help. In the same time, the poverty increases, especially among young people, and suburban nonprofits face many new clients, not engaged in safety-net programs previously. Nevertheless, the number of nonprofit, social-service organizations in the suburbs is much lower and the amount of human-service funding per poor person are more moderate that those of the center.

What is more, their funding is not steady and is expected to be cut. To conclude, the poverty in suburbs has dramatically increased. The poor usually do not have opportunity to change their position due to the lack of support from nonprofit social-service organizations, which are either not present in the suburbs or not able to meet the demand.


Semuels, A. (2015). Suburbs and the new American poverty. The Atlantic. Retrieved from Download Full Essay Show full preview


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