The political geography of this problem, like poverty, has shifted decidedly toward suburbs over the last several years. In the wake of the Great Recession, food stamp receipt increased steeply across the nation’s largest metro areas, with the fastest pace of growth taking place in suburbia. Between 2007 and 2011, the number of suburban households receiving food stamps more than doubled, while food stamp receipt in cities rose by over two-thirds.
Last month, The Economist reported on the growing poverty in U.S. suburbs:
Americans tend to think of poverty as urban or rural—housing estates or shacks in the woods. And it is true that poverty rates tend to be higher in cities and the countryside. But the suburbs are where you will find America’s biggest and fastest-growing poor population, as Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution explain in their book “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America”. Between 2000 and 2010 the number of people living below the federal poverty line ($22,314 for a family of four in 2010) in the suburbs grew by 53%, compared with just 23% in cities.