"Millions of Americans at all income levels moved to the suburbs looking for better schools, better jobs, affordable housing, and a sense of security, but in recent years, as incomes have fallen, people had a harder and harder time making ends meet," said Scott Allard, a University of Chicago professor "As a result, Americans who never imagined becoming poor are now asking for assistance, and many are not getting the help they need."
Cities still have higher poverty rates -- about 19.5 percent, compared with 10.4 percent in the suburbs. But the gap has been steadily narrowing. The study of census data finds that since 2000, the number of poor people in the suburbs jumped by 37.4 percent to 13.7 million. The growth rate of suburban poverty is more than double that of cities and higher than the national rate of 26.5 percent.
Poor people's requests to nonprofit groups for help buying food, paying bills and making housing payments generally jumped 30 percent between 2008 and 2009. About 3 out of 4 nonprofit groups reported more requests from people who had never sought help before.