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Oral Bac 2012 G1-G2
For more than half a century, Americans have fled the cities in their millions, heading away from crime and poverty towards better schools and safer neighborhoods in the suburbs. Now poverty is catching up with them. According to two new reports from the Brookings Institution, over the past decade the number of poor people in the suburbs has jumped by a whopping 37,4% to 13.7m, compared with some 12.1m people below the poverty line in cities. Although poverty rates remain higher in the inner cities, the gap is narrowing.

In June the group opened a storefront "triage" centre on Sunrise Highway, one of Long Island's main arteries; it is just across the road from the Freeport railway station, from which thousands of people commute to New York. People in need can use the centre to get free groceries, clothes, job training and even pet food. The numbers using the centre are exceeding forecasts by two-thirds.

The suburbs often do not have the network of social services necessary to deal with the growing numbers who are struggling. And the facilities that do exist are spread thin, often covering large areas and crossing town and county lines.

The reports paint a grim picture. Poverty rates are expected to continue to increase. Non-profit organizations are having to do more with less staff and less funding. Almost a third of them have had to lay off staff because of lost grants, and one in five has had to reduce service. And with state and local governments lacking cash, more funding cuts are expected.

Adapted from The Economist, October 16tn 2010

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