A new report out today says that the suburbs around Hartford and New Haven have experienced a significant increase in poverty in the last decade. The study, from the Brookings Institute, describes the same trend in cities around the country.
The analysis of census data looks at poverty rates in the nation’s 95 largest metro areas in 2000, and again in 2007 and 2008. By 2008, it finds the suburbs were home to the largest and fastest growing poor population in the country, seeing their rates of poverty increase by 25% over the 8 year period. The primary city of Hartford had a poverty rate in 2008 of over 33% – the highest of any of the city’s studied. But that rate was essentially unchanged since 2000.
What was striking, say the researchers, was the increase in poverty in the surrounding suburbs, which had a poverty rate of almost 7% in 2008. In fact, the metro region now has a majority of its poor people living in suburbs rather than in the primary city itself – a reversal over the decade. The suburbs of New Haven saw their poverty rate rise to 8.6%, while the city’s rate remained steady.
The picture was rather different in the Bridgeport-Stamford metro, where a majority of poverty is still concentrated in the two primary cities, and suburban poverty showed no significant increase in surrounding Fairfield County. In this part of the state, the cities had a poverty rate of 17% in 2008, compared to a 5% rate in the suburbs, well below the national average of 9.5%.
For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.