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Growth Of Suburban MN Poverty Among Highest In Nation

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twin Cities suburbs feature plenty of spacious homes and luxury cars, but they’re also seeing a big increase in poverty.

In fact, a new study says the growth in the poverty rate for the Twin Cities suburbs is among the highest in the nation.

The report, by Brookings, challenges the notion that poverty is only a problem for urban and struggling rural areas.

When in reality, even some of the communities in the metro area with some of the wealthiest residents, also have some of the poorest.

The study shows the number of suburban Twin Cities residents living in poverty has more than doubled in the last decade.

Brookings Institution — a think tank out of Washington, DC — indicates there are 115,000 more poor people living in the Twin Cities suburbs than there were just 10 years ago.

The ICA food shelf in Minnetonka has 80,000 pounds of food ready to hand out to families. They said they recycle through that every month and a half.

They’ve seen their food service output to families in need go up 115 percent in the last four years.

The assistant director there said the growing poverty problem could be a product of underemployment and the rising cost of health care.

“We’re finding that as people come in and donate food, they’re shocked at how much food that we have, how much food we’re giving out, how many people are coming,” said Jayson Palm, associate director of ICA Food Shelf Minnetonka. “About a couple years ago, we were giving out food to 350 families a month and now it’s over 800 a month to receive food. So the need as been rising incredibly.”

Shakopee and Apple Valley were among the top cities listed for outer-ring suburbs with the most dramatic increases in poverty. Still, though certain areas are struggling, the poverty rate in the Twin Cities suburbs is still less than 8 percent — that’s lower than most other suburban areas.

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