Poorest poor in U.S. hits new record: 1 in 15
Boise metro area ranks 92nd in nationWASHINGTON — The ranks of America’s poorest poor have climbed to a record high — 1 in 15 people — spread widely across metropolitan areas as the housing bust pushed many inner-city poor into suburbs and other outlying places and shriveled jobs and income. The Boise metropolitan area ranks 92nd in the nation for concentrated poverty, according to the data. Although Boise proper has no concentrated poverty, the rate jumps to 3.6 percent in the suburbs if Boise itself is ignored — placing the outlying cities at 41 nationwide for concentrated poverty in suburban areas. New census data paint a stark portrait of the nation’s haves and have-nots at a time when unemployment remains persistently high. It comes a week before the government releases first-ever economic data that will show more Hispanics, elderly and working-age poor have fallen into poverty. In all, the numbers underscore the breadth and scope by which the downturn has reached further into mainstream America. “There now really is no unaffected group, except maybe the very top income earners,” said Robert Moffitt, a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University. “Recessions are supposed to be temporary, and when it’s over, everything returns to where it was before. But the worry now is that the downturn — which will end eventually — will have long-lasting effects on families who lose jobs, become worse off and can’t recover.” Traditional inner-city black ghettos are thinning out and changing, drawing in impoverished Hispanics who have low-wage jobs or are unemployed. Neighborhoods with poverty rates of at least 40 percent are stretching over broader areas, increasing in suburbs at twice the rate of cities.