Baltimore’s massive poverty problem is impossible to miss, whatever your income bracket. Vacant and condemned buildings speckle the city. And many others that ought to be condemned house families. But of course we no longer need the visual cues. Awareness of Baltimore’s blight is something the entire nation has internalized.
That’s why it’s so surprising to learn that in 2011 there were actually more poor living in Baltimore’s suburbs. That’s by raw numbers of residents living in poverty (around 150,000 in the city compared with 159,000 in the suburbs), not by percentage of population. But when you’ve got the majority of assistance programs focusing their attention on the city, that leaves an awful lot of people in the cold.
And if we continue on this trend — between 2000 and 2011, Baltimore’s suburban poverty shot up by 58 percent, while urban poverty rose by only 4 percent — than the problem will only become more pronounced.