This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Not Too Many People Want to Raise Children in San Francisco

Thanks to Justin Stoler for pointing me to an urban demography article in today's NYTimes about the declining number of children in San Francisco. The population is fairly young, pushed along as it is by the high-tech industry jobs that now exist in the city, but those young people are not having many kids in the city itself.
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.
I have been in and out of San Francisco a lot of over the years, including especially during my undergraduate and graduate school days at Berkeley in the 1960s. No matter what the numbers might say, it was certainly never my impression that the city was "alive with children and families." Both of my sons were born in Berkeley and never in our wildest imaginings would my wife and I have thought of living in San Francisco instead of Berkeley. We have always loved visiting San Francisco (Greens Restaurant in the Marina District is one of our favorite places in the world to eat), but I can readily understand the sentiment that:
“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.”
Don't worry, though. There are plenty of children in the Bay Area--they live everywhere outside the very confined city limits of the City of San Francisco. To be sure, there are other kinds of children who live in relative abundance in San Francisco--the dog children...

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