Meet the new geography of poverty.

The housing bust didn't just sink the world economy. It sunk the suburbs too. 

Now, you probably think of white picket fences, big backyards, and perhaps a whiff of existential despair when you think about the suburbs. But you should think of economic despair instead. As Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution points out, suburbanites made up almost 50 percent of food stamp recipients back in 2007 -- and 55 percent in 2011.

This is actually worse than it sounds. Their share of food stamps use only went up 5 percentage points, but suburban households' total food stamp use doubled between 2007 and 2011. By comparison, total food stamp use went up by 69 percent for city households.

The Great Recession accelerated the rise of a new geography of poverty. Homes that were supposed to be lead to the American Dream lead to financial ruin instead. And, unfortunately, this isn't going away anytime soon -- not if the recovery continues to only be one for the top 1 percent.

Hows' that for suburban despair.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a map of future climate risks in the U.S.
    Maps

    America After Climate Change, Mapped

    With “The 2100 Project: An Atlas for A Green New Deal,” the McHarg Center tries to visualize how the warming world will reshape the United States.

  2. photo: a commuter looks at a small map of the London Tube in 2009
    Maps

    Help! The London Tube Map Is Out of Control.

    It’s never been easy to design a map of the city’s underground transit network. But soon, critics say, legibility concerns will demand a new look.

  3. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  4. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.
    Life

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

  5. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

×