As they analyzed and interpreted the data for their study (Confronting Suburban Poverty in America) Alan Berube and Elizabeth Kneebone asked themselves the political implication, i.e. “which congressional districts are most affected by suburbanizing poverty, creating a stake in a broader agenda to reinvent place-based anti-poverty policy?” Together with Jane Williams, also of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, the researchers reached the following conclusions.:
- Poverty increase in the 2000s reflected broader regional economic struggles, rather than partisan affiliation.
- More than 80% of congressional districts contain at least some portion of the suburbs within the 100 largest metropolitan areas.
- The suburbs of Republican districts were somewhat more likely to experience poverty increases than the suburbs of Democratic districts.
- Democrats still represent poorer suburbs than Republicans on average, but the gap has narrowed.
- Districts with the fastest growth in the suburban poor population over 2000s lean red.
- Districts where the share of suburbanites living below poverty rose fastest during the 2000s lean blue.
The full report (Suburban Poverty Traverses the Red/Blue Divide) and map is available online at http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2013/08/06-suburban-poverty-berube-kneebone-williams