Suburban Slide

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Jennifer
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Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 30 Mar 2018, 15:51

Slate has a six-part series called "Suburban Slide," which "explores the changing face of poverty in the United States and how the symbol of American prosperity became the new place of poverty." It appears that as of today, three of the articles have come out.

https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/0 ... e-not.html

https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/0 ... blems.html

https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/0 ... needs.html

The second link is titled "Stop tackling poverty--Poverty measurements routinely underestimate how dire most American families’ financial situations have become." The gist of the article is one I strongly agree with, of course: "just because you’re not poor, that is to say falling below the official poverty line, doesn’t mean you don’t struggle; the technical measure doesn’t capture experiences of insecurity. We need to stop focusing on who is and isn’t poor at a given point in time and start thinking about economic insecurity as a new normal, in the suburbs and elsewhere."
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 30 Mar 2018, 15:57

https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/0 ... blems.html
... Our current measures lead us to treat poverty as a minority problem, with anti-poverty programs targeted just at that minority. According to the U.S. Official Poverty Measure (OPM), in 2016, approximately 12.7 percent of the U.S. population was living in poverty, and almost half were those living in extreme poverty. Authored by Mollie Orshansky, the OPM stems from President Johnson’s War on Poverty, which began in 1964 with the Economic Opportunity Act and culminated in the Social Security Act amendments of 1965.

But poverty was calculated based on how much an average family consumes, i.e. a “basket of goods” defined by a 1963 family food budget. Though indexed for inflation, the official poverty measure hasn’t changed, and determining whether a family is poor based on a family’s food budget fails to recognize just how their budget has changed in the past five decades—with income volatility and stagnation, the increased cost of housing, the increased need for and often staggering cost of child care as women enter the workforce, and a shrinking social safety net.

More recently, researchers have tried to come up with measurements that better capture the scope of poverty and the complexity of modern financial life in America. In 2009, experts finalized a nuanced, comprehensive supplemental poverty measure (SPM) for the U.S. Census Bureau that expanded how we understand income, the value of government supports, and household spending to include shelter, clothing, out of pocket medical expenses, and utilities.

However, even the more comprehensive Census measure excludes issues of wealth or asset poverty, i.e., whether you have savings or home equity you can tap into in an emergency. (Half of all Americans don’t have $400 for an emergency.) ...
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Suburban Slide

Post by JasonL » 31 Mar 2018, 18:46

Oh yes - the half or more of Americans are really poor if you squint thing. I love those stories so.

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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 31 Mar 2018, 21:14

The number of struggling people is greater than what the official poverty rate shows. But the fact that poverty is now becoming relatively common in the suburbs (as opposed to inner cities or rural areas) is something new for America, I think. (Certainly I've seen a lot of stories on that theme, since moving to the Atlanta metro region--yeah, there's still some pretty horrifying poverty pockets in the city limits, but most of the "poverty growth" is in the 'burbs.)
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 31 Mar 2018, 21:54

And yet on balance most poor people would be better off in the 'burbs in terms of cost of living, safety, etc. There's little surprise about this. Poor people take up the vacuum of decaying suburbs when the original suburbanites move either further out or back into the city, displacing whatever poor people happen to be there first.

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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Mo » 31 Mar 2018, 22:59

Poverty growth is in the burbs because the city cores are getting filled with rich people and getting more expensive, so poor people are moving to the burbs.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Warren » 31 Mar 2018, 23:38

Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 01 Apr 2018, 00:52

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
31 Mar 2018, 21:54
And yet on balance most poor people would be better off in the 'burbs in terms of cost of living, safety, etc. There's little surprise about this. Poor people take up the vacuum of decaying suburbs when the original suburbanites move either further out or back into the city, displacing whatever poor people happen to be there first.
The downsides are, suburban dwellers are far more car-dependent, and also, what poverty-assistance programs there are aren't really set up for sprawled-out suburbs. (Which IIRC is one of the things mentioned in the "Suburban slide" series. And umpteen different "Changing face of poverty" feature stories in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and similar publications.)
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 04 Apr 2018, 16:05

Here's one of those "yikes, metro Atlanta" articles I read after moving here, though the Atlantic published in in January 2015: "Suburbs and the new American poverty."

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/ar ... ty/384259/

It mainly focuses on the suburban town of Norcross, which actually is one of mine and Jeff's favorite localities so far, because it has such things as "lots of cool, cheap foreign supermarkets and other immigrant-type businesses" and "a couple of really good thrift stores" and whatnot -- but of course, taking advantage of such things not only requires some disposable income, but also reliable personal transportation because the mass-transit options here suuuuuuck.
...There are more tangible problems that arise when poverty grows in the suburbs. Often, government structures change more slowly than the population at large, and residents find themselves represented—and policed—by people who don’t understand their needs or concerns. The unrest in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, over the past year, reflects this conflict.

Suburbs also have less transit than urban areas, making it difficult for low-income residents to get to jobs or buy groceries. And social services have been slow to follow the poor to the suburbs, so many suburban poor find themselves isolated and without a safety net, hidden from those who might be able to help.

This all became extremely clear to the Reverend Harriet Bradley, who lives in an extended-stay motel in Gwinnett County, where a neon sign advertises rooms for $169 a week. She has no car, and depends on public transit to get around. It can take her three hours to get to church some days, and the public transit in the county doesn’t run on the weekends. [....] The crowd was diverse, but the commissioners were all white. Over the last decade, Gwinnett has become the most racially-diverse county in Atlanta. Between the 2000 and 2010 census, the county's African American population added 112,000 residents, growing 143 percent, while the county's Asian population doubled, adding 43,000 residents. The white population grew by a mere 1,680 residents. Still, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is all white, as is the county school board, and all of the judges elected to county's state and superior courts.

Bradley, who is African American, cleared her throat and stood in front of a round table of white elected officials and staff, and asked for more transit funding.

"The bus schedules don’t start early or run late enough," she said. "I’ve often heard people around me say, 'They don’t realize that I can’t get to work.'"

A person without a car who wanted to attend that very meeting would not have been able to get home afterward because the bus doesn’t run late enough, she said (she’d arranged for a ride home). Gwinnett County residents without cars can’t get jobs at the mall or local warehouses, or at Atlanta’s airport south of the city—the busiest airport in the world—because the buses don’t allow them to get to work on time.

“Many people have had to turn down jobs because they couldn’t get there,” she said, ending her speech.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Dangerman » 05 Apr 2018, 08:32

I met with an employer who is desperately trying to get her industry peers to help fund a shuttle from the inland towns to the resort towns on the coast 30 miles away.

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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by dhex » 05 Apr 2018, 09:42

my bil has clients who just refuse to set up a shuttle bus loop while complaining they can't fill the 10-30 spots for various construction and manufacturing jobs in hartford county. they're almost offended by the idea.

well, folks don't have cars. you need folks to stay in business. connect the dots bruh.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Warren » 05 Apr 2018, 10:16

Back in the 80's the auto industry was hungry for labor and set up shuttles in Detroit. The workers couldn't be bothered to meet the shuttles on time. Horse - water.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 05 Apr 2018, 15:15

One of the constant, recurring background stories I hear from locals is, the main reason mass transit sucks here is NOT because of any lack of money to build, but because most of the suburban cities plain don't want mass transit, since they associate it with The Poor (although Atlanta metro traffic sucks enough that it is NOT only "poor" folks who complain about the lack of options other than private-car driving).

Long before I ever imagined I'd be living here, I knew the racist joke about how "MARTA" stands for "moving Africans rapidly through Atlanta" (even though, from what I understand, actual MARTA ridership leans a bit whiter than the local population?) If you want to live close to a MARTA stop -- train stop, not bus -- you'll pay a premium even greater than the cost of keeping and maintaining a not-fancy car.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 05 Apr 2018, 15:26

the suburban cities plain don't want mass transit, since they associate it with The Poor
The thing about that -- and yeah, this is pretty much identical to a complaint I used to make when Jeff and I lived in downtown Bristol, Connecticut -- there is ALREADY lots of "The Poor" here, no matter how much city council hates that fact. So all the anti-poor laws and regs -- "let's shut down the discount grocery store and dollar store, because The Poor use such businesses," "let's not allow worthwhile mass transit, because if you build it The Poor will come" -- y'all are not "keeping poor folks out," but "making poor folks even poorer than they are, ad making it a LOT harder for poor folks to work their way up to Not Poor."
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Highway » 05 Apr 2018, 17:01

There's a huge access component to the mass transit discussion, as in more transit can provide more access (and more timely access) to more different places. Unfortunately, the people who are most in favor of that aspect of it are the ones who are most shut out of all political processes. So the "more transit!" flag in public debate is carried by the well-off "We want a white elephant train to get to the stadium and the tourist attractions!" crowd, which is a much less deserving, and much more costly, use for transit. So it doesn't get done.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 05 Apr 2018, 18:05

From what I've seen, in Atlanta and the surrounding regions, it's not only "The Poor" who want more and better mass transit options; evermore middle- and upper-middle class do, too. Because the traffic here is utterly horrible for everyone, even folks who can afford their own cars. And the population continues growing, and if that growing population all need cars just to get to work, things will only get worse still.

But there's still a LOT of racist and classist bullshit getting in the way of that. (Just yesterday, the Atlanta-suburb town of Griffin made double-facepalm headlines: first, by declaring "Confederate History Month," while a white man (and ex-city councilman) explains to the city council how he grew up near "niggertown."



Forgot to mention: Norcross, the suburb mentioned in that 2015 Atlantic piece about "poverty growth in Atlanta suburbs," was also mentioned in the Boston Globe 2016 article "Being white, and a minority, in Georgia." (Short version: all the things about Norcross which make me like it so much -- the cheap immigrant stores and restaurants and other businesses -- are anathema to the old white residents who've been there since forever.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation ... story.html
By Annie Linskey Globe Staff September 10, 2016

NORCROSS, Ga. — One of the clearest signs of how times have changed in this little Southern town is literally a sign. It’s the outline of a faded red, oblong Dairy Queen sign that towers over Buford Highway just a few miles from the city line.

It used to direct residents to a fast food franchise, a beacon of Americana, where a hamburger cost 79 cents. The building is gone now. Only the sign remains, and at its base is a Hispanic man with a machete, slicing open coconuts piled in the back of his trailer.

His English is shaky. His coconuts cost $4.

America on Edge: In Pa., boomers see the American Dream slipping away

A generation ago, this Atlanta suburb was 95 percent white and rural with one little African-American neighborhood that was known as “colored town.’’ But after a tidal wave of Hispanic and Asian immigrants who were attracted to Norcross by cheap housing and proximity to a booming job market, white people now make up less than 20 percent of the population in Norcross and surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a shift so rapid that many of the longtime residents feel utterly disconnected from the place where they raised their children.

“It’s not that much anger, but you don’t feel comfortable knowing that all this is around you,” said Billy Weathers, 79, who has lived in the area for his whole life and doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish.

Many say they feel isolated in their own hometown, pushed to change their ways, to assimilate to the new arrivals instead of the other way around. They resent the shift, even knowing it’s nobody’s fault, really. And they have mostly kept their feelings to themselves. Who, they wonder, would listen to folks like us, anyway?

But this year, in Norcross and places like it, resentment has found its voice. The concerns of a white citizenry feeling displaced have been reinforced by the rhetoric of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who swept most of the state in the Republican primary. ... “There used to be a place where we could go out to eat to get southern cooking,” said Billy’s wife, JoAnn Weathers, 79. “Well there’s no more southerners left here. . . . They came from other countries and completely changed our lives.”
FWIW< there are still plenty of options for "Southern cooking" in and around Norcross. And there are also lots of cooking options that likely didn't exist in Norcross a generation ago: that's where I visit the kickass Indian mall with its food court, or the equally kickass sushi buffet about half a mile down that same road. Outside Norcross city limits, but further down the Buford Highway mentioned elsewhere in the Globe article is The Halal Guys, which sells the BEST DAMNED GYROS ON THE PLANET.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Highway » 05 Apr 2018, 19:09

Middle- and Upper-class people don't want buses. Ever. They want a shiny train, one that runs underground, and stops near their house, but not TOO near, because then those poor people might ride it out from the city and cause trouble, and has a big parking lot so that they don't have to park that far away from the entrance. And they want it to be there, even though the commute using the subway would actually take about 50% longer than their commute by car on the good days, so they never actually use it, it's just there in case they did want to use it. And they want it to be super cheap, not anywhere near the actual cost to run it, because "Gosh, I could drive myself for 7 dollars, why should I pay more than 3 for a round trip ticket?" And they'd still never use it, but they want it to be there because then it's something they could brag about to people who don't live in the city. And that will prevent the city transit administration from rolling out a wide network bus system that could actually reduce traffic if those people used it, AND increase access for other people who need it.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Mo » 07 Apr 2018, 19:32

NYC is different. The fanciest Manhattanites I knew refused to take the subway and preferred the bus. Less dingy, not underground and better regulated by the driver.

Personally, I’d rather take the bus over the train if the time to destination was the same.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by nicole » 07 Apr 2018, 20:10

Mo wrote:
07 Apr 2018, 19:32
NYC is different. The fanciest Manhattanites I knew refused to take the subway and preferred the bus. Less dingy, not underground and better regulated by the driver.

Personally, I’d rather take the bus over the train if the time to destination was the same.
Chicago is similar to this. It depends where I’m going but overall bus is preferable. I even get less motion sickness than on the train now that the new stupid cars have almost exclusively side-facing seats. It’s more chill and it’s much safer at night. The only downside is you have to make sure you have money on your card (or cash).
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Mo » 07 Apr 2018, 20:40

I used to love taking the M57 to the IBM office in NYC. 2 min walk to the stop, dropped off 1 min from the office. No sardine can experience and gross BO of the IRT.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 08 Apr 2018, 03:58

Regarding Atlanta and its suburbs, I wish they'd forget (at least for now) about building more miles of train track and just expand the fuck out of the bus system-- more buses, more drivers and vastly expanded operating days and hours. At least an hour after whatever is the state mandated alcohol closing time.

There is an ordinary Marta bus stop on the street corner near my apartment complex, and oftentimes a special "Mobility bus" or something will pull up right in front of my apartment building, so one of my cane-using neighbors can board it. But I gather that's a super-special privilege which is very difficult to qualify for. And anyway, from what I've seen the buses don't run very often. (I just checked that bus stop's address on Moovit,com; if I"m reading it correctly, on weekdays there's supposed to be one bus every 40 minutes, starting a little after five in the morning and ending a bit before midnight. I don't know if those times refer to when the bus first starts its rounds, or when it (theoretically) stops at the stop near my apartment.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 08 Apr 2018, 04:16

Also I forgot to mention, regarding Norcross: Jeff and I went there a couple days ago to visit the Japanese/Chinese/sushi buffet we like, which is in one of the many, many immigrant-business strip malls on Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Outside was a woman and four or five young-ish kids (all white, FWIW) sitting outside the restaurant, and the woman held a cardboard beggar sign asking for help because she's a single mom with five kids and they're hungry. If I saw such a sign outside an a la carte restaurant I might've offered to buy everyone a sandwich or something, but I couldn't afford to treat six people to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

They all were still there when we left, only now one of the kids played with a spinning-light toy and another kid was eating French fries from a styrofoam takeout box. I gave the woman two dollars I still had in my front pocket (sushi buffets are like strip clubs -- in addition to paying the cover charge, you should also bring several dollar bills, so you can leave a tip anytime you go up to the stage or sushi bar). I don't know if she was a legitimately poor beggar or one of those scam artists you read about -- but it's terribly sad for those kids either way.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by lunchstealer » 09 Apr 2018, 16:56

Jennifer wrote:
05 Apr 2018, 18:05
But after a tidal wave of Hispanic and Asian immigrants who were attracted to Norcross by cheap housing and proximity to a booming job market, white people now make up less than 20 percent of the population in Norcross and surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a shift so rapid that many of the longtime residents feel utterly disconnected from the place where they raised their children.
Sooooo.... gentrification is genocide?
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Jennifer » 09 Apr 2018, 17:26

lunchstealer wrote:
09 Apr 2018, 16:56
Jennifer wrote:
05 Apr 2018, 18:05
But after a tidal wave of Hispanic and Asian immigrants who were attracted to Norcross by cheap housing and proximity to a booming job market, white people now make up less than 20 percent of the population in Norcross and surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a shift so rapid that many of the longtime residents feel utterly disconnected from the place where they raised their children.
Sooooo.... gentrification is genocide?
Technically I suppose this would be "urbanization" or at least "suburbanization," moreso than "gentrification." IIRC, that article came out just before the "white genocide" thing became a thing for the alt-right.

That article also mentions some yearning for "when Jimmy Carter Boulevard was just a dirt road" -- JCB today is where the majority of the Norcross stuff-I-like is to be found: the really good thrift store, the immigrants-from-India mall, the Koreatown and Little Vietnam strip malls with their kickass supermarkets and similar things.

To be fair, there are some sympathetic complaints someone might make, about going from "dirt road" to "majorly built-up low-rise urban sprawl" (amount of traffic, noise in general, going from solitude to a crowd, etc.), but those complaints would sound identical no matter the ethnic/cultural makeup of the newcomers. However, such sympathetic complaints tend not to be what the actual white old-time Georgia folks are making.
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Re: Suburban Slide

Post by Eric the .5b » 09 Apr 2018, 18:01

I have to admit, even the "sympathetic" complaints in these sorts of discussions seem to always become inextricable from "we used to be the majority color here, and now we aren't" if you poke hard enough at it, which is why I tend to be unsympathetic to the grumpy old whites and the anti-gentrifiers.
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