Suburban Poverty Rising in Atlanta

Driven by economic and demographic trends, poverty in "outer ring" suburbs is on the rise. Since 2000, Atlanta's suburbs have seen the highest rate of change in poverty of any comparable metro region.

1 minute read

April 5, 2016, 6:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Atlanta Sprawl

Hunter Desportes / flickr

The nationwide resurgence of city centers may be paving the way for a relocation of urban poverty to the suburbs. Kate Sweeney reports on the situation in Atlanta. "Kim Anderson, CEO of Families First, a nonprofit that serves low-income Atlantans, says the issue is complicated, but that today, poverty has hit Atlanta's suburbs 'primarily because that's where affordable housing is.'"

As the connotations of "inner city" shift, low-income residents like Carole Williams live on cul-de-sacs instead of in public housing. "Since the late 1990s, Atlanta has demolished many of its public housing projects, scattering its former residents. These days, most apartments built in-town are high-rent luxury units, tough for middle or low-income people to afford."

If this trend holds, low-income people may bear the brunt of sprawl that the middle and upper classes created. "Fortunately, Carole Williams has a vehicle, but it's one she shares with her niece, who has a job and two kids. Planning her days was a lot easier back in New York, where she would just walk or hop a train."

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