Lakeland Poverty

hopefortheson.jpgIn yesterday’s Ledger you might have read the article entitled Poverty Joins the Flight To Suburbia Across U.S.. I’ll pull out a quote:

“Economies are regional now,” said Alan Berube, who co-wrote the report for the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. “Where you see increases in city poverty, in almost every metropolitan area, you also see increases in suburban poverty.”

That simply means, the poor are not the problem of the city, but of the region. And those moving to the suburbs are not going to be able to hide ostrich-like and pretend the poor don’t exist.

The Ledger didn’t pull out the Lakeland numbers from the report, but I will. Lakeland lands in at 10th in the 2005 list of suburbs with the highest poverty rates. In the list below, the first number for each year is the percentage of the total population that falls under the poverty level. The number in parentheses is the percentage of poor under-18.

Lakeland Metropolitan Statistical Area

1999: 12.9 % (19.6 %)
2005: 13.7 % (22.6 %)
MOE 1.5% (2.9 %)

Lakeland Central City

1999: 15.0 % (24.4 %)
2005: 14.3 % (27.7 %)
MOE 3.1% (8.3 %)

Lakeland Suburbs

1999: 12.5 % (18.9 %)
2005: 13.6 % (21.6 %)
MOE 1.9% (3.8 %)

MOE: Margin of Error

So, Lakeland’s city core total population actually improved from 1999 to 2005. The sad finding is that nearly a quarter of Lakeland’s poor are children.

About the facts:

“* – The federal government defined the poverty level as $15,577 for a family of three in 2005.” (source)

The Brookings Institute announcement: HTML and original report: PDF.

Who is the Brookings Institute? According to Sourcewatch and According to A Measure of Media Bias by Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo, September 2003 (DOC)

Photo illustration: Hope for the Son CC by Shavar Ross

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