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To understand the concept of the role of place in poverty and inequality, it's essential to understand the terms poverty, inequality, and location. It's hard to define poverty in its entirety, and its definition varies from region and setting. But broadly, poverty refers to the inadequate or lack of income by members of society that prevents them from living the life prescribed by society's standards. Poverty is mostly associated with the inability to access the basic needs of housing, clothing, food, education, and proper medical care. For example, the US measures poverty through an individual's annual income based on this; its federal poverty line is drawn where individuals living under the line are considered destitute. In most developing countries, poverty is measured by the average amount of dollars spent. Families living below two dollars a day are considered impoverished (Allard and Paisner, 2016)
Place majorly refers to the metropolitan areas and regions that cut encompasses urban and suburban areas. Cities are mainly regarded as urban, and they include communities and neighborhoods within the boundaries of administrative centers of principle city. Suburbs are majorly regarded as areas of the city's outskirts, but within the same region or metropolitan area, they are located close to the town. Mostly single-family homes characterize suburbs hence have a low population density, where most have to travel to the central business district of the city to work (Allard and Paisner, 2016)
Place in Poverty and Inequality
The role of a place determines the level of poverty and inequality exhibited in today's society. The community in which one lives influences the quality of education, transportation, economic opportunities such as work-force development, availability of employment, access to support, and public services available for one. Where one lives also determines the barriers that exist in the access of the said opportunities. Place intertwines with the fundamental policies that determine the health and economic stability of the metropolitan area and the individual families. The forces that create this phenomenon of inequality and barriers to equal opportunities range from housing, population changes, and labor market-related issues. The disparity affects that in the same metropolitan area or region, residents living in different communities in the urban and suburban areas might not get equal opportunities in the job markets, the same quality of education, or even access to basic safety and healthcare services (Kneebone, 2013).
In urban and suburban settings, spaces, poverty, and inequality are marked and divided depending on the social and cultural differences. The difference varies in the race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and social class that creates spatial segregation from the core cities to the outer suburbs. Racial discrimination is the most often looked over and given much attention at the expense of other social differences (Ovadia, 2003). For example, the term 'the ghetto' usually refers to the social and racial inequalities facing the black and poor Hispanic communities. The segregation has further advanced by the construction of housing projects in the ghetto. Another example is 'Chinatown' that exists in most major urban areas; Chinatowns are mostly associated with poverty, sickness, overcrowding, and crime (Shah, 2001).
The Difference in the Composition of the Urban and Suburban Populations
Although both the urban and suburban poor populations share the same labor market profiles, such as unemployment or employment with similar working hours and rates, both have significant differences. Reflecting suburban regions were established primarily for homeownership, and with this, suburban residents are more likely to own a house compared to urban residents. The urban poor are more likely to live in a single-parent home compared to the suburban poor. Poor suburban residents' chances of completing high school are high compared to the high school completion rate by poor urban residents. In terms of race and ethnicity, the suburban poor are more likely to be white than the urban poor, mostly black and Hispanic. Although African Americans and Hispanics are living in the suburbs, they primarily live in poor neighborhoods. African Americans and Hispanic residing in suburban areas, their schools are more associated with non-performance (Kneebone and Berude, 2013).
Role of Place in Structuring Opportunities for the Poor
In formulating policies for combating poverty and inequality, it's vital to factor in place, and to understand the perception of where poverty is, how it develops and who it affects. Factoring place is essential since when suburban regions emerged, they were mostly associated with the middle-class citizens. Still, in recent years poverty levels have increased drastically by 65% in the suburban from 2002 to 2012, which is twice the rate in urban areas (DeNavas-Walt et al., 2015). Immigration and local migration have witnessed high numbers of people moving into the suburban areas from other countries and urban centers. However, this has not reduced poverty levels in urban areas (Kneebone and Berube, 2013).
—. Urban and Suburban Poverty: The Changing Geography of Disadvantage. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.
Allard, Scott W, and Sarah Charnes Paisner. "The Rise of Suburban Poverty." Oxford Handbooks Online (2016).
DeNavas-Walt, Carmen, and Bernadette Proctor. "Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014." Current Populations Reports. Washington DC: US Census Bureau, 2015. 60-252. <http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p60-252.pdf>.
Kneebone, Elizabeth and Alan Berude. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2013.
Kneebone, Elizabeth. The Changing Geography of US poverty. Washington: Brookings Institution, 2017.
Ovadia, Seth. The Dimentions of Racial Inequality: Occupational and Residential Segregation Across Metropolitan Areas in the United States. City & Community 2, 2003.
Shah, Nayan. Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco's Chinatown. Carlifornia: University of Carlifonia Press, 2001.
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