Remember the phenomenon of so-called "white flight" whereby affluent white folks sought shelter in the suburbs from crime or (in the case of racists) exposure to racial/ethnic minorities? 

Guess what corner we've turned? There are now more poor suburbanites than poor city folk!

According to a new book from the Brookings Institution, the suburban poverty rate in America has climbed by 64 percent over the past decade, more than twice as fast as the poverty rate in urban areas.

Nearly 16.5 million people live in poverty in the suburbs, compared with about 13 million poor people in cities. (source)

Over the last decade, we've seen urban areas become gentrified, with affluent folks wanting to be downtown, close to the best shopping, the best restaurants, and urban nightlife.

I live in Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, one of the nation's poorer large cities. I'm white, but probably 85% or more of my neighbors are black. The area is very integrated, though, and racial tension seems to be nonexistent. However, due to the size of the rents in my building, few people living here can be poor. But go further away a few blocks and clearly the blacks there are not as affluent. They don't live in a high-rise on Lake Erie like me, but rather in small rental homes or two-story apartment buildings whose grounds are ill-kept. I'm sure there are plenty of poverty cases in this suburb.

Almost all of the downtown dwellers in Cleveland live in posh apartments or condos converted from warehouses, department stores, hotels, and other commercial buildings. They are affluent enough to be paying rents or mortgages in the multiple thousands of dollars a month, and nearly all of them, I'm sure, are white.

It's sad to see that white flight is still going on. 

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Will the slums just stay slums, or become sub-slums?

No, they'll become gentrified. Consider what happened to NYC's Brooklyn, Harlem, and Bowery neighborhoods. It's a familiar urban cycle. I live in Euclid, Ohio. It's a middle-class suburb of Cleveland that used to be lily white. Now it's close to half black. Middle-class blacks. Poor blacks live in Cleveland but most heavily away from the central core. Meanwhile, countless city core warehouses are being turned into spendy loft apartments.

True, some cities try to mix "affordable housing" in with the affluent housing. For it to work, though, the state kicks in some bucks in the form of hefty tax breaks and probably some direct subsidies as well to make sure the buildings and grounds keep up appearances.

I know from a time I spent living in a certain apartment complex in Portland, Oregon. Portland has nice apartment buildings with a certain percentage of Section 42 or even Section 8 units. Section 42 is low-income. Section 8 is for indigent people who can't support themselves. People on SSI, recovering addicts, etc. I know because Iived in such a building.

There were definitely some anisocial people mixed in with the normal people. There was a murder in the apartment below mine. It was a domestic murder, not a drug deal gone bad. The man strangled his girlfriend to death. It was a nice apartment building. Well kept inside and out, but any halfway normal person living in it sometimes paid the price for living with people who otherwise would probably be living in a slum or ghetto.


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