Friday, January 27, 2012

The 'Burbs

I was amazed when I saw the following statistics about suburbia embedded in a BBC article:
The Hofstra Suburban Survey, which periodically polls 1,000 US suburbanites, has revealed growing division within suburbs, like both Levittown, PA and its sister city, Levittown, NY, each long saddled with its own stubborn myth of uniformity and prosperity.

In 2011, 40% of survey respondents reported living "paycheck to paycheck" most or all of the time. Twenty per cent had lost a job since the last election, and 59% more knew someone who had. Thirty-eight percent knew someone who had lost their home to foreclosure.
Suburban residents are far from a monolithic voting block These rates are marginally better than those of cities and rural areas. Yet given the size of the suburbs, the absolute number of distressed suburbanites dwarfs their urban and rural counterparts, and absolute numbers win states.
On a related note: Slumburbia:

LATHROP, Calif. — Drive along foreclosure alley, through new planned communities that look like tile-roofed versions of a 21st century ghost town, and you see what happens when people gamble with houses instead of casino chips.

Dirty flags advertise rock-bottom discounts on empty starter mansions. On the ground, foreclosure signs are tagged with gang graffiti. Empty lots are untended, cratered with mud puddles from the winter storms that have hammered California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Nobody is home in the cities of the future.


  1. Although poverty indicators are up a little in our mostly comfortable county, things never seem to change much. It's dull. But -- we spent last week in Hillsborough County (south Tampa Bay) on a family visit/escape from the cold. The weather was wonderful, but the economic climate has been ravaged: tiny, old condo conversions that had sold in 2004 for a quarter-million now listed for $32,000. Waterfront property everywhere, with boat docks, for sale -- take your pick. The weather's still lousy here, but dull is looking better. And the empty, abandoned developments? Really eerie-looking.

  2. Wow, thirty-two thousand for a house on the water in Florida? If I had a way to support myself I'd buy one, throw up some solar panels and have a good ol' time. Maybe homestead or have a boat like Dmitry Orlov.


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