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 13th (it will be out in January 2020), 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.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Meccas for the Childfree (updated)

It is probably a sign of a low fertility society (even if not below replacement level) that a real estate blog (Estately) has just created its list of the 14 most childfree (importantly, as I note below, they use the word "childfree")-friendly cities in the US. San Francisco heads the list, and I doubt that would be a surprise in anyone's book. But Seattle was second, and the local media picked up on the way the blog had made fun of the city:
"Sure, Seattle has a reputation as a socially frigid city inhabited by nerds not known for their breeding prowess, but research indicates that’s not why the population is only 15.4 percent children,” the blog said, attributing the low birthrate instead to the “high number of affluent and educated professional men and women” who tend to have fewer babies.
While Seattleites may not be inclined to form large families, it turns out we have plenty of room for dogs. Estately said Seattle, with “more mutts than children," is the third best U.S. city for pooches.
The District of Columbia was third on the list, and this too made the local news:
But do the facts on the ground really make support the notion that D.C. is a hub for couples without kids?
There does appear to be some truth to the claim. Just 17.3 percent of District residents are under the age of 18, according to the most recent Census data. That's a full 6.1 percentage points below the national average.
Estately's list isn't just based on the raw number of children, however. It also includes nightlife, restaurants, travel options, and other adult-oriented activities that would attract the childless to the area. The blog cites a number of factors for D.C.'s prominence, including the District's high level of educational attainment and large population of career professionals.
Keep in mind three things as you contemplate these lists (which are fun, but we probably don't want to take them too seriously): (1) the results are for the population within specific city limits and San Francisco and DC, in particular, are surrounded by suburbs where children are likely to be more common; (2) not all people who are currently childless will necessarily stay that way and when they stop staying that way, they are apt to move to a place that is more child-friendly, thus distorting these demographic trends, and (3) a key caveat is that the cities are noted for being friendly to "childfree" people, not necessarily "childless" people. My wife and I have children and grandchildren, but we are "childfree" because none of them live with us.


  1. Yea I moved here form Florida to make more money in construction which went well until the governments forcing banks to make sub prime home loans crashed the economy. I am a 30 year professional. Seattle has fewer children because homosexuals cannot reproduce themselves, and the men are neutered punks and the women are homely as hell. But don’t worry, south king county is being invaded by Latino's who reproduce like rabbits and your high tax rates pay for them. Also a person here illegally can get a job in construction that I do not qualify for because I am not a minority. So a person in the country illegally that my tax dollars pay for their kids, school,breakfast, lunches, food stamps,oh sorry its now SNAP, sounds better to the uninformed public, and housing gets a well paying construction job that a 4th generation American citizen cannot get. You well-educated C+ degrees can mostly only do one job, but I do all of the work on my cars,home,computers and anything else that needs to be done for myself. After retraining and certification I was hired at the UWMC I quit the state job at the university of Washington because I had to do all of the work because the union employees are lazy, incompetent and management cant fire them.The hard-working smart co workers also quit. The system is run by women and minority managers who are not qualified or smart enough to do the job but they got the job because of hiring quotas. My supervisor hated me because I was smart and worked hard and the professors/surgeons started to expect the other workers to do the same. Seattle is a magnet for illegal families and your taxes will continue to go up to support them. The only people that will be in king county are rich or people on public assistance living off of poor working peoples tax dollars. Seattle loves to emulate California and soon it will be billions in the hole just like California. PS If I lived in Mexico and America encouraged me to come work for 10 times my pay I would cross the boarder to send money back to my family too. It is a concerted effort between Mexican and American crooked politicians to-bring everyone down to a soviet union worker status. When was the last time you heard a politician talk about pressuring Mexico to use its natural resources to benefit the people of south America so they would not have to die to travel here to send money back home to there families? What the hell do you think change the fundamentals and level the playing field really mean?

  2. Dr. Weeks: Yes, I agree with your comments ont his article. Certainly, it is a topic that needs more study from a scientific perspective.