Where are the Kids Going?

I was listening to the news last week with half an ear, only to hear about changing census numbers from last year to the previous census in 2000.  The result?  The number of children, defined as kids from 0 to 17 years has declined in the last ten years in San Francisco.  I have been trolling the web and am not finding good clear sources for this information.

An editorial in my San Francisco Business Times from last week's paper discusses all of this, but I am having difficulty finding it on-line to share. (yes, I still have a subscription to real newspapers including the SF Business Times and to the New York Times for part of the week so that I also get online access).  The article cites the decline in kids--from 2000 to 2010, the city lost 5,000 more kids, even though the city population grew by 30,000.  Those under 18 years of age are about 13.5% of the population, half of the national aveage.  And while kids under the age of 5 increased by 3,000, the number of older kids has dropped, suggesting that families are fleeing the city as their kids reach school age.

The article cites housing and schools as the main issues.  According to the editorial, the city has passed a host of family unfriendly policies including: "a long-running jihad against homeowners, home ownership and market-rate housing; an indifference bordering on hostility to workforce housing for middle income families; a 'transit-first' policy that often equalled opposition to car ownership; even an attempt to divert voter-approved funds for school art and music programs."

It's alarming to think that the city of San Francisco, which has SO much going for it is losing so many families to the suburbs.  Perhaps this is just a cycle--families moved back to big cities in the 70s and 80s after fleeing in the 50s.  Or, perhaps it is because we are not paying attention to the things that matter in the city--'affordable' housing,  (ok, relatively speaking in SF); opportunities for home ownership so that renters in the city can own property and set down roots (and yes, this may mean that we need to allow for more units to convert in the condo lottery each year), clean, safe streets; good air quality and great schools.  It will be interesting to see how the mayors race unfolds in the next year.  And, perhaps time for more of us to get involved in the city to demand that our elected officials work towards the best interests of San Francisco (short term and long term).

Or, feel free to call Stacey and me, and we'll happily show you homes in Marin and introduce you to good agents in other parts of the Bay Area.

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