WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Poverty is on the rise in the suburbs after spiking at an alarming rate over the last four years.

Despite the Washington, D.C. are having 7 of the nation’s top 10 highest-income counties, poverty is pushing its way out of the District and into our suburbs.

“Our ideas about where poverty is have not changed,” Anne Cahill of the Fairfax County demographer told the Washington Post. “We still think of it being the in the inner city. The reality is, poverty in the suburbs is where the growth is.”

According to a report from the Post, poverty within the city limits of D.C. – 19 percent – declined from 2010 to 2011, while rates rose around the region to percent.

While the report notes that rate of 8.3 percent is the lowest for metropolitan areas around the country with a national rate of about 15 percent, the number of families feeling the crunch in the area is significantly higher than it was just four years ago.

The number of people using food stamps in Prince William County has more than doubled since 2007, according to the report.

Overall poverty rates have also risen in Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington counties.

The report is based on findings of a 2010 Brookings Institution study of census data called “Strained Suburbs,” which shows the cities and towns in the region with the worst displays of poverty increases in Virginia are Centreville, Chantilly, Leesburg and Linton Hall. In Maryland it’s Bowie, College Park and Germantown suffering the most.

Representatives of Food For Others – a food pantry on Prosperity Avenue in Fairfax – told the Post lines form before the doors even open every morning; that the number of people looking for help has almost doubled over the last four years.

The rise in poverty isn’t consistent in all D.C. metropolitan suburbs however. Poverty rates actually decreased slightly in Montgomery County and Alexandria, while the rate remained pretty much the same in Prince George’s County.


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