Sanfran
San Francisco's Unaffordable Family Formation
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January 22, 2017, 07:02 PM
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From the NYT:

San Francisco Asks: Where Have All the Children Gone?

By THOMAS FULLER JAN. 21, 2017

… A few generations ago, before the technology boom transformed San Francisco and sent housing costs soaring, the city was alive with children and families. Today it has the lowest percentage of children of any of the largest 100 cities in America, according to census data, causing some here to raise an alarm.

“Everybody talks about children being our future,” said Norman Yee, a member of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. “If you have no children around, what’s our future?”

As an urban renaissance has swept through major American cities in recent decades, San Francisco’s population has risen to historical highs and a forest of skyscraping condominiums has replaced tumbledown warehouses and abandoned wharves. At the same time, the share of children in San Francisco fell to 13 percent, low even compared with another expensive city, New York, with 21 percent. In Chicago, 23 percent of the population is under 18 years old, which is also the overall average across the United States.

… Many immigrant and other residential areas of San Francisco still have their share of the very young and the very old. The sidewalks of some wealthy enclaves even have stroller gridlock on weekends. But when you walk through the growing number of neighborhoods where employees of Google, Twitter and so many other technology companies live or work, the sidewalks display a narrow band of humanity, as if life started at 22 and ended somewhere around 40.

… There is one statistic that the city’s natives have heard too many times. San Francisco, population 865,000, has roughly the same number of dogs as children: 120,000. In many areas of the city, pet grooming shops seem more common than schools.

Prohibitive housing costs are not the only reason there are relatively few children. A public school system of uneven quality, the attractiveness of the less-foggy suburbs to families, and the large number of gay men and women, many of them childless, have all played roles in the decline in the number of children, which began with white flight from the city in the 1970s. The tech boom now reinforces the notion that San Francisco is a place for the young, single and rich.

“If you get to the age that you’re going to have kids in San Francisco and you haven’t made your million — or more — you probably begin to think you have to leave,” said Richard Florida, an expert in urban demographics and author of “The Rise of the Creative Class.”

Mr. Florida sees a larger national trend. Jobs in America have become more specialized and the country’s demography has become more segmented, he says. Technology workers who move to San Francisco and Silicon Valley anticipate long hours and know they may have to put off having families.

“It’s a statement on our age that in order to make it in our more advanced, best and most-skilled industries you really have to sacrifice,” Mr. Florida said. “And the sacrifice may be your family.”

In San Francisco, Hillary beat Trump 84-9.

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