The Brookings report also found that the biggest increases in poverty rates were found in Midwestern cities, while Northeastern poverty rates declined. 30 percent of Americans are now below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
To download the full report from the Brookings website click here, there is also a city by city breakdown of the stats available here. US newspapers are localizing the study for today's issues, what follows are snippets of three such stories that caught our eye.
From The Birmingham News writer Jeff Hansen reveals a surprising trend for Birmingham, Alabama.
The Brookings Institution today reports that the poverty rates in the city of Birmingham and in the rest of the seven-county metro area declined from 2000 to 2008, by 2.4 and 0.6 percentage points, respectively.
That defied the overall trend seen in the nation's 95 largest metro areas, where the number of American poor increased by 5.2 million, with almost half of that growth occurring in what Brookings calls "the suburbs."
Birmingham's outlier status in an anomaly. The metro region was late in joining the Great Recession: Birmingham metro unemployment averaged 4.5 percent in 2008, but then 9.1 percent through the first 11 months of 2009.
Brookings expects the Birmingham-Hoover metro poverty rate will to climb by 2.4 percentage points from 2008 to 2009, based on that surge of unemployment already seen for 2009. And Brookings expects poverty rates in the other 94 metro areas will also rise.
The Brookings Institution said the trend of more poor people living in suburbs means that "the balance of metropolitan poverty has passed a tipping point."
James Rosen of McClatchy Newspapers gives us the statistics for the Carolinas.
More than one of every four Columbia residents is now living in poverty.
Columbia has been hit harder than other cities in the Carolinas, but Charleston, Charlotte and Raleigh are also home to a growing number of poor people.
More than 15.8 percent of Charlotte's residents are poor. That's only a slightly larger share than the 14.1 percent poverty rate in Charlotte metro area suburbs in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union and York, S.C., counties.
York County, though, has been hit worse, with 16.3 percent of its residents living in poverty.
Things are bleaker still along the S.C.-Georgia border: Aiken County, part of the Augusta, Ga., metropolitan area, has a 19.2 percent poverty rate.
The suburban-city disparity is sharper in Columbia: The city proper has a poverty rate of 27.7 percent, compared with a 13.6 percent in its suburbs in Richland, Lexington, Kershaw and other nearby counties.
The Indianapolis Star gives us the results for that area.
The number of people living in poverty in Indianapolis increased in the years 2000 through 2008, but the city's poverty rate remains below that of the 95 largest U.S. cities, according to a new report from a Washington think tank.
In the Indianapolis suburbs, defined as 10 surrounding and nearby counties, the number of people living in poverty increased to 65,684 in 2008, up by 29,741 since 2000, the report said. The poverty rate in the Indianapolis suburbs increased from 5 percent in 2000 to 7.3 percent in 2008.