“While poverty anywhere is a bad sign, highly concentrated poverty brings with it additional problems, as people in poor areas face what Kneebone calls “the ‘double burden’ of not only their own poverty, but also the disadvantages of those around them.” Poor neighborhoods tend to have higher crime rates, worse health, and worse public schools, for example. And high economic segregation is also correlated with lower rates of economic mobility — the rates at which people climb up the economic ladder.
It’s true that concentrated poverty still remains a much bigger problem in cities than suburbs — 23 percent of poor urban residents live in distressed neighborhoods, compared to 6.3 percent of suburb-dwellers. But the fact that suburban concentration is growing suggests future problems.
“[M]any of these communities are ill-equipped and unprepared to deal with the needs of a growing and increasingly concentrated low-income population,” writes Kneebone.”