Poor Suburbs Struggle with Job Sprawl

Although unemployment has declined, according to this report commutes are getting longer. "Job sprawl" often plagues minority and poor areas where housing is more affordable.
May 29, 2015, 2pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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A report recently issued by the Brookings Institution finds that "in more than 60 percent of neighborhoods with poverty rates above 20 percent and 55 percent of majority-minority neighborhoods, jobs are getting farther away."

Minority movement away from the "inner city" into suburbia exacerbates this trend: "the number of Hispanics living near jobs fell 17 percent last decade and 14 percent fewer blacks live close to employment compared to 6 percent fewer whites, according to the report."

Centers of employment have gravitated to desirable areas, lengthening the commute from more modest locales. From the article: "Retail and offices settled in higher-income neighborhoods. So while the movement of minorities to suburbia that accelerated the last 20 years sent hopeful signs of a rising middle-class, many minorities settled in poorer, inner-ring suburbs that did not attract employers."

The articles cites Los Angeles' ambitious mass transit construction program as a solution. However, "housing near transit tends to jack up property values. Apartments and condos that sprout up along transit lines often are out of reach of lower-income residents."

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Published on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 in Al Jazeera America
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