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Metro Atlanta tops list for suburban poverty

8:48 AM, Jun 4, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- A new study shines the spotlight on suburban poverty, and metro Atlanta does not fare well.

The 24/7 Wall Street web site named Atlanta as the city where suburban poverty has sky-rocketed the most in the last ten years. The list was based on a recently published study by the Brookings Institute.

From 2000 to 2010, the poverty rate in metro Atlanta's suburbs nearly doubled. It happened across the area, from dense counties like Clayton, DeKalb, and Gwinnett to urbanized suburbs like Lawrenceville and Kennesaw to peripheral spots like Carrollton and Haralson County.

These were just the worst offenders; nearly every city and county in the metro area saw a rise in poverty rates over the first decade of the 21st century.

Why has this happened? The Brookings Institute study points to several reasons, starting with the housing collapse and recession in the latter half of the decade. During that time in metro Atlanta, suburban unemployment more than doubled.

The study cited Atlanta's lack of investment in public transit as a reason for its soaring suburban poverty rates. It also referenced the rise in rental prices in the city of Atlanta, sending many poorer residents to the suburbs.

Speaking of the city itself, Atlanta saw its poverty rate decline slightly in the last decade. Its number is still higher than that of the suburbs.

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