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.

You can download an iPhone app for the 13th edition from the App Store (search for Weeks Population).

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Demographics of Homelessness

Voters in San Francisco today will decide the fate of a local proposition aimed at coping with the growing number of homeless persons in that city. Indeed, homelessness is generally on the rise in California, and Los Angeles passed a proposition two years ago to deal with the issue. Although there are a variety of causes, a NYTimes story adds a new wrinkle:
Dennis Culhane, an expert on homelessness at the University of Pennsylvania, says there is also a much more unappreciated factor: demographics.
The current acute homelessness crisis in cities across California corresponds with the coming-of-age of the millennial generation, which at its peak in the mid-1990s had more births than at any time since the baby boomers of the 1950s and ’60s. A previous bout of severe homelessness came in the 1980s, when the second half of the baby boomers were in their 20s.
What does demography say about the future of homelessness in California?
Nationally, births declined for seven years from the millennial generation peak of 4.2 million. There may be some hope in that. Yet the millennial cohort will be with us for decades longer — and Dr. Culhane believes it will take a “massive infusion of resources” to assist the neediest among them. “At the scale of homelessness we are witnessing on the West Coast, little pilot efforts here and there are not going to make a dent,” he said.
There is also a state-wide initiative on the ballot--Proposition 10--that would allow widespread rent control in an attempt to keep rents from rising to the point that people are forced out of their homes--and thus into a state of homelessness. Rising rents and rising income inequality in California are also creating demographic pressures in the state. This is yet another good example of demography as "a drama in slow motion."  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Dear John,

    I think you should consider this for your next blog post:

    "After the wall came down, the East lost more than 10 percent of its population. Two-thirds of those who left and did not come back were young women.

    It was the most extreme case of female flight in Europe, said Reiner Klingholz, director of the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, who has studied the phenomenon. Only the Arctic Circle and a few islands off the coast of Turkey suffer comparable male-female imbalances.

    In large swaths of rural eastern Germany, men today still outnumber women, and the regions where the women disappeared map almost exactly onto the regions that vote for the Alternative for Germany today."