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How poverty plays a role in Ferguson

Two men were shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, this month. One was unarmed, one had a knife. Heated protests in response may be the result of growing poverty in the suburban area — and the city is not alone.
Amy McDonald, Deseret News Modified: August 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm •  Published: August 22, 2014
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Ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri, may be the result of growing poverty in the area. And Ferguson is not alone. A new analysis from The Brookings Institute shows that unemployment and poverty rates have only increased in Ferguson in the last decade, and the city is just one in the nationwide trend of growing suburban poverty.

According to the Brookings report, the unemployment rate in Ferguson has risen from less than 5 percent in 2000 to more than 13 percent from 2010 to 2012. And the number of families using federal housing assistance climbed from about 300 to more than 800 from 2000 to 2010, reports Brookings.

The growth is not just in Ferguson or St. Louis County. "In the first decade of the 21st century, poverty rates grew in suburban areas around the country, and already poor areas saw poverty become more concentrated," Reuters reported.

Time Magazine's Denver Nicks reports that "poverty in America's suburbs has been on the increase nationwide for decades, as the suburbs themselves have grown and affordable housing options moved further out from urban centers. Opportunities for low-skill jobs — already diminished due to the decline in American manufacturing — in sectors like retail and construction have become more concentrated in suburbs. And it's not only a matter of emigration of low-income people into the suburbs. Long-term residents in some places have become poorer; suburban areas were hit particularly hard by the recession and housing crisis in the 2000s."

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