"Poverty is touching more people and places than before," Kneebone said in a recent statement, "challenging outdated notions of where poverty is and who it affects."
However, Berube and Kneebone see this rapid growth in suburban poverty as more than a temporary change caused by the recent recession. They attribute the rise to shifts in jobs and wages, population growth and immigration, collapse of the housing market and the foreclosure crisis.
"As jobs moved into suburbs particularly low-paying jobs in sectors like retail and hospitality poverty did too," the book states. "And job losses triggered by the Great Recession in industries like construction, manufacturing and retail hit hardest in suburban communities and contributed to rising suburban unemployment and poverty."
The authors also believe that old remedies used to target inner-city poverty need a makeover to address the dispersed nature and size of suburban poverty.
"We cannot risk recreating the same problems of entrenched concentrated poverty in suburbs that we have battled for decades to reverse in cities," said Berube, deputy director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. "The suburbanization of poverty is a wake-up call … and a new chance to get this right."
While poverty is uncomfortable in any location, suburban poverty is exacerbated by the lack of public transit options and a spottier safety net. Outdated understanding also can translate into lack of political will, the book notes.
Confronting Suburban Poverty in America recommends taking 5 percent of the $82 billion that the federal government spends each year on antipoverty programs to create a competitive grant program that states could tap to improve opportunities for housing, education, transportation and jobs.
"In this time of constrained resources, we need to leverage every dollar in more effective ways," Kneebone said, "to increase access to economic opportunity for low-income residents wherever they live."