Where are the poor? Most people would immediately respond "in the city, of course". And yes, when I walk through downtown Portland, I do see quite a few people whom I would label as "poor". On the other hand, when I walk through my neighborhood, or many of the nearby neighborhoods, I just see kids playing, empty front yards, cars in the driveway -- no panhandlers.
But research now indicates that there are more poor in America's suburbs than in the city. Yes, you heard right. Between 2000 and 2008 the suburbs in large metro areas saw the ranks of the poor grow 5x faster than in the city. In 2008, there were nearly 12.5 million poor in the suburbs, compared to 10.9 million in the nation's primary cities.
See the full report here. (PDF). Rob Pitingolo has a nice write-up on this topic at his blog Extraordinary Measures.
This seems to me a "myth buster". When it comes to poverty, what we assume may just not be true. Maybe time for me to open my eyes?