Ferguson, Mo. Calls Attention to Suburban Poverty

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ongoing protests around the death of Michael Brown have called attention to rising poverty and shifting demographics in suburbs like Ferguson, Mo. Ferguson went from 85 percent white in 1980 to 67 percent black by 2012. The city’s poverty rate doubled between 2000 and 2012, resulting in one in four residents living below the federal poverty line. The changes in Ferguson are representative of the growth of suburban poverty nationwide. Within the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, the number of suburban neighborhoods where more than 20 percent of residents live in poverty more than doubled between 2000 and 2012. These demographic shifts have triggered a glut of problems in the suburbs, including entrenched unrepresentative leadership structures, social support funding shortages, and soaring crime rates.