Extreme poverty is up during the first decade of the millenium

The number of people living in neighborhoods of extreme poverty grew substantially, by one third, over the past decade, according to a new report, erasing most of the gains from the 1990’s when concentrated poverty declined.

More than 10 percent of America’s poor now live in such neighborhoods, up from 9.1 percent in the beginning of the decade, an addition of more than 2 million people, according to the report by the Brookings Institution, an independent research group…

The report analyzed Census Bureau income data from 2000 to 2009, the most recent year for which there is comprehensive data.

The data captures the first part of the decade most clearly, when growth in concentrated poverty was highest in metropolitan areas in the Midwest. Of the neighborhoods where poverty became most acute, three were Midwestern: Toledo, Youngstown and Detroit.

The report estimated that in metropolitan areas, worsening economic conditions in 2010 may have bumped up the portion of those living in concentrated poverty metro areas to 15 percent, a notch below the 1990 level, 16.5 percent. The biggest rises were in Sun Belt areas like Cape Coral, Fla., and Fresno, Calif., where the housing bust was biggest…

It’s the toughest, most malignant poverty that we have in the United States,” said Peter Edelman, the director of the Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy at Georgetown University. “It’s bad outcomes reinforcing each other.”

Just one more thing the Bush/Cheney era can take credit for.

Super-Sizing Jeebus

We’ve been overeating our way through ever-larger portions over the past 1,000 years, a U.S. study revealed after studying more than 50 paintings of the Biblical Last Supper.

The study, by a Cornell University professor and his brother who is a Presbyterian minister and a religious studies professor, showed that the sizes of the portions and plates in the artworks, which were painted over the past millennium, have gradually grown by between 23 and 69 percent.

This finding suggests that the phenomenon of serving bigger portions on bigger plates, which pushes people to overeat, has also occurred gradually over the same time period, said Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

“The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food,” Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” said in a statement.

“We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history’s most famous dinner…”

The study found that, over the past 1,000 years, the size of the main meal has progressively grown 69 percent; plate size has increased 66 percent and bread size by about 23 percent.

Har! I believe every calorie of it.