By Haya El-Nasser
For eight months, Nuñez, who lives in Athens, a close-in suburb on the south side of Los Angeles, struggled to find work that she could get to without a car.
“I didn’t have transportation anymore,” said Nuñez, 44.
The distance between jobs and residents of metropolitan areas is growing as suburban sprawl continues its spread, creating mounting challenges especially for minorities and low-income residents.
The number of jobs within typical commuting range of suburban residents dropped 7 percent between 2000 and 2012, more than twice the decline experienced by the typical city residents, according to a new report by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.
The drop is of concern because unemployment rises when jobs are far away.
Almost 60 million suburbanites don’t live near jobs compared to 33 million city residents. And those who live in high-poverty, majority-minority neighborhoods – many of them in suburbs – experienced particularly pronounced declines in their proximity to employment.
In more than 60 percent of neighborhoods with poverty rates above 20 percent and 55 percent of majority-minority neighborhoods, jobs are getting farther away.
“It’s important especially for these suburban poor populations,” said Natalie Holmes, co-author of the report, the first to focus on the impact of job sprawl on suburbanites as opposed to central city residents.