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More poor people now live in U.S. suburbs than cities - study

Newly constructed homes in an unfinished subdivision is surrounded by weeds in Coolidge, Arizona December 6, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Lott
Newly constructed homes in an unfinished subdivision is surrounded by weeds in Coolidge, Arizona December 6, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of people living in poverty in U.S. suburbs surpassed the number of poor in cities over the past decade, driven by strong growth in overall suburban populations, according to an analysis released on Monday.

The change is posing a challenge to some traditional U.S. approaches to fighting poverty, which were aimed primarily at poverty in urban settings, the Brookings Institution study found.

The number of poor people living in suburbs rose 64 percent between 2000 and 2011, reaching 16.4 million, it showed. The number of poor people living in urban areas increased 29 percent to 13.4 million.

"Despite the fact that 'poverty in America' still conjures images of inner-city slums, the suburbanization of poverty has redrawn the contemporary American landscape," authors Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube wrote in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

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