Formerly Upper Middle Class, Suburban Residents Hardest Hit by Recession

As the middle class continues to be eviscerated, public assistance organizations are increasingly seeing their clientele expand from the homeless, impoverished and unemployed, to residents who just a few years ago were driving fancy cars and donating themselves. Case in point: a food pantry in Crystal Lake, Illinois, via Business Insider:

“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.

According to the most recent census, the suburbs have been the hardest hit by the dip in the economy, coinciding with a shift in suburban residents to lower income families. Read the full report here.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at December 28, 2011, 6:08am

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