Suburbs: Social Services Not Keeping Up

CHICAGO, Oct. 11 (UPI) — Poverty is growing in U.S. suburbs but social services aren’t keeping up with the growing need, a U.S. researcher suggests.

Study co-author Scott Allard of the University of Chicago says poverty rates remain higher in urban areas than suburban areas — 18.2 percent vs. 9.5 percent — but the number of poor in the suburbs of some of the largest metropolitan areas has grown considerably.

The study, prepared for the Brookings Institution, indicates several suburban counties outside Chicago experienced more than 30 percent increases in the number of poor residents from 2000 to 2008, as did portions of counties in suburban Maryland and northern Virginia.

The report authors suggest the collapse of the housing market and high unemployment are driving demand for help in these suburbs, but social services cannot keep up with the requests for services.

Many of the people seeking assistance have jobs and are among the working poor who have seen their hours and earnings cut in the last few years, the study says.

“Forty-five percent of providers report substantial increases in the number of clients coming from households where one or both adults are working but cannot earn enough to make ends meet,” Allard says in a statement.

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