Sunday, September 28, 2014

What is the challenge of our generation in New York?

As I wrote a few weeks ago, speaking about the problem of suburban poverty, Chuck Marohn said, "the challenge of our generation is to make sure that we don't leave those people behind." A group of researchers at the Brookings Institution, led by Alan Berube and Elizabeth Kneebone, have been investigating this important issue, and last year they came out with a book, Confronting Suburban Poverty, with a companion website. By comparing the 2000 Census with the 2008-2012 American Community Survey, they make a strong case that poor people are being displaced from center cities to suburbs.

I've been thinking along similar lines to Chuck's for a while now. I want to make sure that poor people aren't getting dispersed from my city, New York, to the suburbs and then left behind, so I looked into it. I've heard stories about people being displaced from Manhattan, from Brooklyn, and even from my own neighborhood in Queens. I want to know where they're going, and how we can preserve their access to New York's jobs and services.

On the Brookings website, it turns out the New York area has one of the lowest rankings in the country for (Edit) the increase in concentrated poverty, 89 out of 100:

Kneebone does observe that "all metro areas saw suburban poverty grow during the 2000s," and in the data table, she and her colleagues list the "New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA" Metropolitan Statistical Area as having a 35.6% growth in the suburban poor population between 2000 and 2008-2012 (from 708,574 to 960,883).

The first question is, what do the Brookings researchers mean when they talk about "suburban" anything? Joe Kriesberg raised that question, and Kneebone and Berube answered it: "We identify cities as the first named city in the MSA title and any other named city that has a population of 100,000 or more. We treat the remainder of MSAs as suburbs." That means that in the New York-etc. MSA they counted New York, Newark, Jersey City, Yonkers, Bridgeport, New Haven, Paterson, Stamford and Elizabeth as cities, but Edison, Woodbridge, Hamilton, Trenton, Norwalk, Clifton, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon and Passaic are suburbs.

I'll talk about what I found in a later post, but for now I just wanted to get this part out there.


Alex Knight said...

That measure would also mean that a place like Hoboken would be counted as a suburb. I know there's no perfect measure of urban vs. suburban, but theirs seems a bit more flawed than it should be.

Ted said...

Cap'n in the NY area poverty is highly concentrated, the 89th ranking is change in poor population living in neighborhoods with a 20% poverty rate.

57.9% of the poor population in NY area live in neighborhoods with a poverty rate of 20% or greater, 22nd highest. For reference it's 20.4% in Madison Wisconsin, the 100th highest. Back to the NY area 15.9% of the poor population live in neighborhoods with a poverty rate greater than 40%, 31st out of 100. Madison Wisconsin, Oxnard-Thousand oaks-Ventura, CA and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA are all tied at 98th with 0% of poor in neighborhoods with a 40% poverty rate.

Capn Transit said...

Thanks for pointing that out, Ted. I've corrected my introduction to the map.

I meant to focus on the fact that New York's concentration of poverty is not increasing. Whatever you may think of the concentration of poverty, Kneebone and Berube's main point is to sound the alarm about increasing concentrations of poverty, and that's just not happening here. It may be because our poverty was already very concentrated, but that's a different issue.