Thursday, November 20, 2014

Exurban living can exacerbate joblessness, study finds

The general belief that people living in American suburbs are better off economically than those in cities has been shaken in recent years, as desirable downtown neighborhoods have risen in price and have pushed poverty out into first- and second-ring suburbs. Here's another crack in that once monolithic belief.

Writer F. Kaid Benfield reports in Huffington Post on a new U.S. Census study that found recently laid-off workers who live far from job centers take longer to find replacement employment than do residents of neighborhoods more convenient to jobs by public transit or car.

The study itself is from the US Census bureau. Read it here. 

Benfield, who writes for the Natural Resources Defense Council, explains how exurban living can hurt, not help, household and government financial health:

"More hidden [than the problems of auto emissions contributing to carbon emissions], though, are the economic consequences of sprawl, such as rising costs for the construction and maintenance of extended infrastructure and the burdens of increased transportation costs on household budgets.

"More hidden still are the economic consequences of households being located at long distances, inadequately served by public transit, from job centers. For the employed, it means longer and more inconvenient commutes. But, for the unemployed, in too many cases it means you can't get to the job you need at all because you can't afford the costs of car ownership and inadequate public transit simply doesn't connect you to where you need to go."

Fact many Americans are unaware of: For the average U.S. household, the second-biggest chunk of the household budget, after housing, is not health care or food. It's transportation.

Benfield links to an article in The Economist about the jobs-housing spatial mismatch, which notes: "The typical American city dweller can reach just 30 percent of jobs in their city within 90 minutes on public transport. That is a recipe for unemployment."

Read Benfield's full article here.



John Clark/Dialectic Voyeur said...

This is true to the extent of one's socio-economic status (income, etc.). Whether it will engender demographic shifts to urban density remains to be seen. For those employed in higher-paying professional jobs uptown, living in rural now suburban Union County with its lower taxes and like-minded political, and for some racial, identities makes a lot of sense. Unemployment is coming down and gas prices at least for now are lower. One group, Hispanics, are renting apartments and homes in suburbia by combining families in one residence. Class cannot be overlooked when assessing trends. Thanks for this info!

Anonymous said...

regardless of whether the above said article is true; partially or in full, people who want to live uncrowded, and without fear of gangs, crime, bugs, or their kids being in schools around others their parents don't want association with, those people will continue to live outside of urban centers.

karin lukas said...

Innovation usually comes from crowded spaces where people rub elbows and ideas can be shared, bounced around and test driven. The more innovation, the more economic development, and eventually the more pleasurable communal living spaces where it doesn't have to feel crowded or fearful.

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