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M II A II R II K Jul 21, 2019 11:03 PM

The Future of the City Is Childless
 
The Future of the City Is Childless


JUL 18, 2019

By Derek Thompson

Read More: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/ar...n-gone/594133/

Quote:

.....

We are supposedly living in the golden age of the American metropolis, with the same story playing out across the country. Dirty and violent downtowns typified by the “mean streets” of the 1970s became clean and safe in the 1990s. Young college graduates flocked to brunchable neighborhoods in the 2000s, and rich companies followed them with downtown offices.

- New York is the poster child of this urban renaissance. But as the city has attracted more wealth, housing prices have soared alongside the skyscrapers, and young families have found staying put with school-age children more difficult. Since 2011, the number of babies born in New York has declined 9 percent in the five boroughs and 15 percent in Manhattan. (At this rate, Manhattan’s infant population will halve in 30 years.) — In that same period, the net number of New York residents leaving the city has more than doubled. There are many reasons New York might be shrinking, but most of them come down to the same unavoidable fact: Raising a family in the city is just too hard. And the same could be said of pretty much every other dense and expensive urban area in the country.

- In high-density cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., no group is growing faster than rich college-educated whites without children, according to Census analysis by the economist Jed Kolko. By contrast, families with children older than 6 are in outright decline in these places. In the biggest picture, it turns out that America’s urban rebirth is missing a key element: births. — Cities were once a place for families of all classes. The “basic custom” of the American city, wrote the urbanist Sam Bass Warner, was a “commitment to familialism.” Today’s cities, however, are decidedly not for children, or for families who want children. As the sociologists Richard Lloyd and Terry Nichols Clark put it, they are “entertainment machines” for the young, rich, and mostly childless.

- And this development has crucial implications not only for the future of American cities, but also for the future of the U.S. economy and American politics. The counties that make up Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia shed a combined 2 million domestic residents from 2010 to 2018. For many years, these cities’ main source of population growth hasn’t been babies or even college graduates; it’s been immigrants. But like an archipelago of Ellis Islands, Manhattan and other wealthy downtown areas have become mere gateways into America and the labor force. — But if big cities are shedding people, they’re growing in other ways—specifically, in wealth and workism. The richest 25 metro areas now account for more than half of the U.S. economy, according to an Axios analysis of government data.

- Rich cities particularly specialize in the new tech economy: Just five counties account for about half of the nation’s internet and web-portal jobs. Toiling to build this metropolitan wealth are young college graduates, many of them childless or without school-age children; that is, workers who are sufficiently unattached to family life that they can pour their lives into their careers. — Cities have effectively traded away their children, swapping capital for kids. College graduates descend into cities, inhale fast-casual meals, emit the fumes of overwork, get washed, and bounce to smaller cities or the suburbs by the time their kids are old enough to spell. It’s a coast-to-coast trend: In Washington, D.C., the overall population has grown more than 20 percent this century, but the number of children under the age of 18 has declined. Meanwhile, San Francisco has the lowest share of children of any of the largest 100 cities in the U.S.

- The modern American city is not a microcosm of life but a microslice of it. It’s becoming an Epcot theme park for childless affluence, where the rich can act like kids without having to actually see any. — It’s incoherent for Americans to talk about equality of opportunity in an economy where high-paying work is concentrated in places, such as San Francisco and Manhattan, where the median home value is at least six times the national average. Widespread economic growth will become ever more difficult in an age of winner-take-all cities. — But the economic consequences of the childless city go deeper. For example, the high cost of urban living may be discouraging some couples from having as many children as they’d prefer. That would mean American cities aren’t just expelling school-age children; they’re actively discouraging them from being born in the first place.

- In 2018, the U.S. fertility rate fell to its all-time low. Without sustained immigration, the U.S. could shrink for the first time since World World I. Underpopulation would be a profound economic problem it’s associated with less dynamism and less productivity and a fiscal catastrophe. The erosion of the working population would threaten one great reward of liberal societies, which is a tax-funded welfare and eldercare state to protect individuals from illness, age, and bad luck. — Finally, childless cities exacerbate the rural-urban conundrum that has come to define American politics. With its rich blue cities and red rural plains, the U.S. has an economy biased toward high-density areas but an electoral system biased toward low-density areas. The discrepancy has the trappings of a constitutional crisis.

- Smaller cities and suburbs might simply be a better place to live and not just for the obvious reason that they’re more cost-friendly for the non-rich. Perhaps parents are clustering in suburbs today for the same reason that companies cluster in rich cities: Doing so is more efficient. Suburbs have more “schools, parks, stroller-friendly areas, restaurants with high chairs, babysitters, [and] large parking spaces for SUV’s,” wrote Conor Sen, an investor and columnist for Bloomberg. It’s akin to a division of labor: America’s rich cities specialize in the young, rich, and childless; America’s suburbs specialize in parents. The childless city may be inescapable.

- In two weeks, as it happens, I’m moving from New York City to Washington, D.C., into a building that was once a women’s hospital. For 150 years, since its founding in 1866, the facility specialized in delivering babies; it saw more than 250,000 new souls brought into the world, including Duke Ellington and Al Gore. The building used to be a piece of history; today it’s a demographic metaphor for the future of the American city: They gutted the maternity ward and put up a condo.

.....



https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/m.../9a41b9f2e.png

pdxtex Jul 21, 2019 11:18 PM

the function of cities hasnt changed, our material expectations have. 80 years ago, a family living in manhattan probably lived in a 1 bedroom apartment, 2 if they were better off. my mom was raised in an apartment with my aunt. my grandma and grandpa never lived in anything else. what has changed is our income and space expectations. who is driving this urban renaissance? white suburbanites accustomed to suburban proportions. the expectation that a single person must have at the very minimum a one bedroom apartment is common. a studio is for poor hipsters, not successful ones...theres plenty of room to raise kids in a city, we just became spoiled.

Steely Dan Jul 21, 2019 11:39 PM

In my little anecdotal corner of family-friendly Chicago, our neighborhood K-8 CPS school just started a $25M expansion because enrollment is bursting at the seams.

My daughter starts kindergarten there next year. Yay, were part of the "problem"!

ThePhun1 Jul 22, 2019 3:57 AM

Well, at least my city/area has a mix of everything

dc_denizen Jul 22, 2019 12:04 PM

This phenomenon seems specific to dc and sf.

Dc doesn’t have an adequate public school system while sf is too expensive

Portland is full of kids, Brooklyn as well. Public schools are fine.

* White upper class kids is what the article is about, of course.

Crawford Jul 22, 2019 12:40 PM

Part of the reason urban births are down is because teen births have plummeted. Also, U.S. black and Latino birthrates are now basically the same as white/Asian birthrates, but the steep decline in black/Latino is overrepresented in urban areas.

Also, birthrates have generally held steady in wealthy neighborhoods. Tribeca has one of the highest birthrates in NYC. So the story of urban birthrate decline is largely a story of black/Latino mothers having fewer children, especially at young ages.

Crawford Jul 22, 2019 12:48 PM

Actually, I stand corrected - in NYC, the Hispanic and African American birthrates are now well below that of whites and Asians, when years ago they were much higher. And the NYC teen birthrate has plummeted nearly 60% in the past decade, probably in part because Bloomberg mandated sex ed in schools. Also, abortions have plummeted.

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/down...vs/2017sum.pdf

The North One Jul 22, 2019 2:04 PM

This sounds dumb, a functional city cannot be and never will be childless.

Quote:

Smaller cities and suburbs might simply be a better place to live and not just for the obvious reason that they’re more cost-friendly for the non-rich.
LOL no, just no.

Steely Dan Jul 22, 2019 2:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 8638324)
Also, U.S. black and Latino birthrates are now basically the same as white/Asian birthrates, but the steep decline in black/Latino is overrepresented in urban areas.

this is compounded in cities like chicago where not only are birthrates falling among black families, black families are also just leaving the city altogether in droves due to a variety of push and pull factors.

this is how you can have a situation where earlier this decade CPS closed 50 schools across the south and west sides due to falling enrollment, while our neighborhood CPS school on the north side is embarking an a big expansion because the 100 year old school building can no longer reasonably hold all the kids who live in our neighborhood.

chicago's future is less children overall, but it's certainly not gonna be entirely childless in all areas. not by a long shot.

eschaton Jul 22, 2019 3:13 PM

I am interested in when exactly a gentrified urban area "flips" in terms of school enrollment from being non-desirable to desirable.

For example, I've always found it funny Hoboken is still an undesirable place for white yuppies to enroll their kids in school. The city is up to 70% non-Hispanic white and about 9% Asian. Yet the public schools are still majority nonwhite and 47% Latino (the city is only 15% Latino).

At some point it stands to reason that basically all of the poor Latinos and blacks left in Hoboken will have been gentrified out save for those in protected HUD-assisted housing developments. One would presume then white/Asian parents would be more apt to "take a chance" and the demographics would quickly flip, with it becoming a top-performing school district.

Steely Dan Jul 22, 2019 3:50 PM

^ school "flipping" definitely happens in chicago.

our neighborhood school is a textbook example.



here are the 2019 demographics of our school:

white: 56%
latino: 29%
asian: 4%
black: 3%
other: 8%


and here are the 2004 demographics of our school:

white: 18%
latino: 73%
asian: 4%
black: 5%
"other" wasn't a category that was tracked.



our neighborhood has never been remotely close to 73% latino, but 15 years ago the white families in our neighborhood overwhelmingly sent their kids to catholic school.

now, most white families in the neighborhood feel perfectly comfortable sending their kids to the CPS school, hence one of the big reasons why it's bursting at the seams.

Crawford Jul 22, 2019 4:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschaton (Post 8638418)
I am interested in when exactly a gentrified urban area "flips" in terms of school enrollment from being non-desirable to desirable.

For example, I've always found it funny Hoboken is still an undesirable place for white yuppies to enroll their kids in school. The city is up to 70% non-Hispanic white and about 9% Asian. Yet the public schools are still majority nonwhite and 47% Latino (the city is only 15% Latino).

I think Hoboken is a bit of an outlier. They have a number of heavily white, high-performing charters that are popular among gentrifying households (which would definitely not be a thing for the same demographic in, say, Brooklyn).

The Hoboken projects, like NYC projects, aren't going anywhere, so I think the town will always retain some lower income black/Latino households in its public schools.

Kenmore Jul 22, 2019 4:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 8638449)
^ school "flipping" definitely happens in chicago.

our neighborhood school is a textbook example.



here'e the 2019 demographics of our school:

white: 56%
latino: 29%
asian: 4%
black: 3%
other: 8%


and here are the 2004 demographics of our school:

white: 18%
latino: 73%
asian: 4%
black: 5%
"other" wasn't a category that was tracked.



our neighborhood has never been remotely close to 73% latino, but 15 years ago the white families in our neighborhood overwhelmingly sent their kids to catholic school.

now, most white families in the neighborhood feel perfectly comfortable sending their kids to the CPS school, hence one of the big reasons why it's bursting at the seams.

similar transition occurring in earlier phase at Peirce

Maldive Jul 22, 2019 5:01 PM

Not responding to stats, Toronto's worst urban mega project, lovingly known as "cityplace/shittyplace" is completing a huge school/community complex.

https://urbantoronto.ca/forum/attach...py-jpg.195415/
Shot by SomeMidTowner

SHOFEAR Jul 22, 2019 5:08 PM

After having so many acquaintances move out of downtown after having a kid, my wife I and really thought we could be one of the few who could raise a kid downtown (at least for a couple years and move when the second would be a toddler). We had a two bedroom 930ish sq feet condo and thought it would be big enough and the kids could share a room.

The second we got home from the hospital we realized we had made a terrible mistake.

The front hallway would be unpassable due to the stroller and car seat. It was impossible for my wife to haul groceries from the parkade...Our parents would normally need to pay for parking to come visit their grandchild. Complete disaster.

We moved into a house in a neighborhood from the late 1970's era...two story, huge pie lot, attached front garage. life is better. I just built a bed for my daughter from scratch on the driveway, and currently finishing up designs on a playhouse/swing set that I will start building this weekend. cant do that downtown.

Looking back on it now, it was incredibly selfish of us to think we could raise a kid downtown. The things that our daughter enjoys the most....we would have never of had room. Her inside playhouse, the inflatable pool in the backyard...etc. The house is big enough where if our daughters toys are spread out in the family room after we put her to sleep, my wife and I can go watch TV and unwind in the living room without being surrounded by a mess.

If kids are in your future.....do yourself a favor and get into a house with a backyard asap. Moving with a toddler/baby sucks....don't do what we did and think you can get by.

Steely Dan Jul 22, 2019 5:21 PM

^ i kinda feel sorry for people in cities where the only choices are downtown shoe-boxes or '70s tract homes in the burbs.

thank Pizza God for chicago's almost unbelievable amount of legacy pre-war neighborhood urbansim. the creamy middle that i hold so near and dear to my heart.

my wife and i thought we were gonna stick it out with our first child in our 800 SF one-bedroom downtown highrise condo, but as we started accumulating baby crap, we realized it wasn't gonna work all that well.

so when my wife was 7 months pregnant with our first child, we moved into a 1,600 SF condo in a six flat in one of chicago's gorgeous and leafy and family-friendly city neighborhoods. solid move all around.

after our 2nd was born, we moved again to an even bigger condo in another flat building in another wonderful leafy & family-friendly city neighborhood. i'm EXTREMELY happy with where we ended up.

JManc Jul 22, 2019 5:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 8638523)
^ i kinda feel sorry for people in cities where the only choices are downtown shoe-boxes or '70s tract homes in the burbs.

Growing up I lived in prewar urbanism (sounds like what you're in now) flats in NY, post war crackerbox apartments in Houston, '70s tract homes in the burbs in Houston and then semi country/ semi village back in NY and looking back, I much preferred the first option.

eschaton Jul 22, 2019 6:25 PM

My family's first house was a 1,260 square foot rowhouse in a highly urban and walkable neighborhood (by Pittsburgh standards). I bought it when I was single shortly before my wife and I got engaged. Even though it was a small home, we made it work for some time as a family house. Before our daughter was born, we had the attic completely redone into a finished and climate controlled space, moving up there and setting up the front half of the "great room" as a nursery. As she got bigger, we moved her downstairs into her own room. But once we had our son, we knew we had to move on. There was theoretically another second-floor bedroom, but in truth you needed to walk through it to get to the bathroom, which made it unusable as anything besides an office. Thus we kinda had a countdown to when our son would be aging out of the "nursery" space. Plus my wife honestly has some hoarding tendencies, meaning our tiny house was packed to the gills with stuff I would have thrown away if it was up to me.

Theoretically, we could have easily afforded to remain in our old neighborhood, even though while we were there the neighborhood gentrified and had a huge jump in property values. However, my wife, unlike me, is from Pittsburgh, and was convinced that if two people with a combined salary in the rage of $100,000 buy a home which costs over $250,000, they're going to be "house poor." Thus, we were priced out of the neighborhood.

We ended up landing a few neighborhoods away in a streetcar-suburbanish part of the city. The area I live in now isn't incredibly walkable - it takes about 15 minutes to walk to either of the closest two business districts. However, there's a bus stop literally outside my front door, which makes commuting to work by transit even easier than in my old hood. The detached house (from 1905) we landed in five years ago is about twice as large and arguably has six bedrooms (though we don't use three of them for that) and 2.5 baths. Plus it's pretty historically intact, with hardwood floors, stained glass, original grand entrance stairwell with unpainted woodwork, etc. Small yard (houses eight feet away on either side), and no off-street parking, but I don't really mind about that.

I do miss having commercial amenities closer to my house. Our neighborhood finally got a coffeeshop again after two years, and just has a single mediocre neighborhood bar/restaurant. But honestly as parents we don't utilize that stuff as much, and paying the full premium for a lot of these amenities doesn't seem worth it.

Sun Belt Jul 22, 2019 6:29 PM

Here's how Sun Belt sees it:

1] Cities are becoming more child-less than they have in the past
Why?
A] Cities are becoming more expensive.
B] Cities are growing older and less diverse.
C] Some parts of some cities are emptying out and therefore the overall student population appears to be dropping, despite some other successful/desireable outliers -- [Steely's situation].

2] Today's young people put off marriage and have kids much later into their mid 30s.
A] They got a whole lot of F'n to do in their 20s.
B] They want to be able to postpone adulthood, drink beer, play corn hole at the local watering hole until 2 am.
C] They have a huge debt burden and can't afford kids, even though they love to point out how successful they are.
D] Some don't want kids -- to SAVE THE EARTH!!! Kids breathe oxygen and produce carbon while consuming natural resources.

3] Those that want kids, have already grown up and left for the suburbs in their mid 20s, where life is more affordable.

eschaton Jul 22, 2019 6:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8638589)
Here's how Sun Belt sees it:

1] Cities are becoming more child-less than they have in the past
Why?
A] Cities are becoming more expensive.
B] Cities are growing older and less diverse.
C] Some parts of some cities are emptying out and therefore the overall student population appears to be dropping, despite some other successful/desirable outliers -- [Steely's situation].

One way to look at things is this: Kids are roommates who can't chip in for rent. I mean seriously - all things considered, having kids ups your need for space, ups your need for bedrooms, and increases other costs (particularly related to day care). As a result of this, you have higher expenses than childless people do at the same income level as yourself, all other things considered. Thus in order to find a neighborhood which meets your price point, you need to move somewhere else - somewhere where you are competing with childless people who make less money than you do for housing units. Most people are unwilling once they have kids to compromise by moving to the "bleeding edge of gentrification" - the areas which are on their way, but haven't quite arrived. So instead you compromise on neighborhoods which are less desirable in other ways (worse transit access, less walkable amenities, etc).


Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8638589)
A] They got a whole lot of F'n to do in their 20s.

This one is almost certainly untrue. Young people today are having a lot less sex than they were 20 years ago. Young people now spend a lot more time not in any relationship as opposed to in long-term relationships. And despite what might be thought, overall single people have a lot less sex than those who are committed (at least in the early phases - after 10 years of marriage it's probably about even - heh).

Sun Belt Jul 22, 2019 7:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschaton (Post 8638610)
This one is almost certainly untrue. Young people today are having a lot less sex than they were 20 years ago. Young people now spend a lot more time not in any relationship as opposed to in long-term relationships. And despite what might be thought, overall single people have a lot less sex than those who are committed (at least in the early phases - after 10 years of marriage it's probably about even - heh).

Maybe. This might enter a whole different discussion though -- Who actually really knows? The data all comes from questionnaires. Young people today might be lying better than the previous generation. The stigma today [from HIV schooling of the 1990s and beyond] is that no, you absolutely do not want to have multiple sexual partners before marriage.

Therefore, when asked, what do you say? -- I don't want to be a "slut", so I'll underreport.

I don't think young people have changed one bit, in America.

sopas ej Jul 22, 2019 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8638633)
Maybe. This might enter a whole different discussion though -- Who actually really knows? The data all comes from questionnaires. Young people today might be lying better than the previous generation. The stigma today [from HIV schooling of the 1990s and beyond] is that no, you absolutely do not want to have multiple sexual partners before marriage.

Therefore, when asked, what do you say? -- I don't want to be a "slut", so I'll underreport.

I don't think young people have changed one bit, in America.

With PrEP and HPV vaccines, is this even an issue with younger people? I would think younger people wouldn't be lying about their sexual habits on anonymous questionnaires, unless they were raised conservatively/live in conservative areas where people gave a shit about others' sexual habits.

JManc Jul 22, 2019 8:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8638633)
The stigma today [from HIV schooling of the 1990s and beyond] is that no, you absolutely do not want to have multiple sexual partners before marriage.

Huh? People were/are more conscious about HIV but there is no stigma about sexuality or multiple partners before marriage but as eschaton mentioned, overall interest seems to be down.

SHOFEAR Jul 22, 2019 8:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 8638523)
^ i kinda feel sorry for people in cities where the only choices are downtown shoe-boxes or '70s tract homes in the burbs.

.

I always liked the late 70's - early 80's neighborhoods. Obviously the development pattern varies from region to region, but neighborhoods of that vintage are perfect for street hockey, and thus, in my opinion, the most kid friendly neighborhoods ever made.

Everybody has plenty of garage/driveway parking and streets are the least busy. Lane product of the previous eras tends to force visitors to park on the street, rather than the rear parking pad off the lane, and lot widths after the mid 80's are to narrow to allow you to park a RV/Boat/sunday driver at the side of your house thus cluttering driveways and forcing homeowners to park on the street. All this allows for the epic neighborhood street hockey battles I thoroughly enjoyed in my youth.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calga...ping-1.2641922

its an outdated article, but according to it, 26% of Albertans have an RV. Now, is that 26% of households, or 26% of adults.....either way that's a lot..now account for boats/sleds/quads/sunday drivers and having that sideyard space keeps streets safe for kids to do kids things.

It's moments like these.....

https://i.postimg.cc/VLDcHbXF/IMG-1548.jpg

Steely Dan Jul 22, 2019 8:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SHOFEAR (Post 8638735)
I always liked the late 70's - early 80's neighborhoods.

you're totally allowed to like it.

it would not be my cup of tea, though.

my comment was more an opinion on the unfortunate reality that in many newer cities, there isn't a whole lot of that low-rise pre-war neighborhood style urbanism that is very different from both downtown condo towers and post-war suburban tract housing. it's an "in-between" style of urbanism, and my personal favorite now that i have a family of my own to raise.

quiet and shady tree-lined side streets: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.9647...7i16384!8i8192

a very short walk away from ped-friendly retail districts: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.9648...7i16384!8i8192

with convenient access to transit to get around: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.9665...7i16384!8i8192

that's my ideal these days. when we're empty-nesters in a couple decades, it's very possible we'll end up back in a downtown highrise.

Sun Belt Jul 22, 2019 9:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8638712)
Huh? People were/are more conscious about HIV but there is no stigma about sexuality or multiple partners before marriage but as eschaton mentioned, overall interest seems to be down.

Wait, really?

I grew up in the hyper HIV atmosphere. I'm pretty sure that differed from the pre HIV era.

SHOFEAR Jul 22, 2019 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 8638742)
you're totally allowed to like it.

it would not be my cup of tea, though.

my comment was more an opinion on the unfortunate reality that in many newer cities, there isn't a whole lot of that low-rise pre-war neighborhood style urbanism that is very different from both downtown condo towers and post-war suburban tract housing. it's an "in-between" style of urbanism, and my personal favorite now that i have a family of my own to raise.

fair enough. And, yes, most areas lack something like that.

rewind the clock 5 years before we had kids and that is probably the type of setting we would have imagined ourselves in when we outgrew the condo.

Over the years our vision of what type of neighborhood we would raise our kids in changed drastically. As we got out of our 20's mindset and realized all schools aren't equal...well that changed a lot and narrowed down possible neighborhoods drastically. A huge box that we needed to check off was decent schools. While some central neighborhoods are experiencing a rejuvenation, its not exactly people with toddlers lining up to overpay for some trendy narrow lot infills. Those schools are a long way (if ever) from being fixed. What we zeroed in on was neighbourhoods that have had good schools for multiple generations, with the thinking that other young couples will continue to pay a premium to move into these neighbourhoods and keep the schools desirable.

Even though we have an above average sized house and an above average sized lot....I see us moving into something larger, not smaller if we ever move again.

Pedestrian Jul 22, 2019 11:53 PM

The quicker the last breeding family moves out and they can shut down the money-pit that is the public school system, the better the city will be (certainly the less costly for the rest of us).

Pedestrian Jul 22, 2019 11:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8638712)
Huh? People were/are more conscious about HIV but there is no stigma about sexuality or multiple partners before marriage but as eschaton mentioned, overall interest seems to be down.

PreP and the existence of treatments that have turned AIDS into a chronic disease that does not shorten your lifespan has really changed things. I can't speak to the interest of 20-somethings but for those with an interest, there's not much deterrence from worrying about HIV any more.

Steely Dan Jul 23, 2019 4:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SHOFEAR (Post 8638868)
As we got out of our 20's mindset and realized all schools aren't equal...well that changed a lot and narrowed down possible neighborhoods drastically. A huge box that we needed to check off was decent schools. While some central neighborhoods are experiencing a rejuvenation, its not exactly people with toddlers lining up to overpay for some trendy narrow lot infills. Those schools are a long way (if ever) from being fixed. What we zeroed in on was neighbourhoods that have had good schools for multiple generations, with the thinking that other young couples will continue to pay a premium to move into these neighbourhoods and keep the schools desirable.

Schools are certainly an important part of the location equation when you have kids. That said, a TREMENDOUS amount of "school quality" is really just a measure of the socio-economic status of the students who happen to attend the school.

Our neighborhood city school garners a middling rating from the major school ratings agencies, but 30% of the students are from low-income families. When you control for that low-income student population, test results aren't all that radically different from a typical suburban elementary school.

My kids will also be provided with a far more realistic picture of the way the world really is than I was ever afforded growing up in Wilmette (wealthy upper middle class northshore burb). There is real value in socio-economic mixing, but that will never be quantified by a fucking Great Schools algorithm.




Quote:

Originally Posted by SHOFEAR (Post 8638868)
Even though we have an above average sized house and an above average sized lot....I see us moving into something larger, not smaller if we ever move again.

We all have our own drumbeat to march to.

We've got a 3 bed/3 bath 2,300 SF condo spread across two floors in a bog-standard Chicago 3-flat. It feels fairly house-like, other than the fact that we have some upstairs neighbors and shared yard spaces. It's plenty adequate for our family of four.

Considering that we have absolutely no plans to expand our family any further, I can't envision any situation where I would ever live in another home substantively larger than our current one.

Our current plan is to camp down here for the next couple decades while we raise our kids, plant some serious roots, become part of the woodwork of the neighborhood, and give our kids a strong sense of "rootedness" in their city. After that, it can only be smaller, not bigger.

SIGSEGV Jul 23, 2019 4:46 AM

Yeah, my parents didn't move into a place with a yard until I was in 7th grade (by then, I had no need for one...). Apparently there are these places called parks where you can take kids to play :).

eschaton Jul 23, 2019 1:42 PM

This is a bit old, but this 2014 post dealing with the demographic decline of Lower Fairfield County shows the decline in children is not just an issue unique to cities. Very wealthy towns - well known for top-notch school districts, saw declines in the number of small children of up to a third in the 2000s alone:

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gGPFDhdW_...nder+5+map.gif

The author attributes this in part due to the sort of "snob zoning" common in established suburbs in the NYC metro. High housing costs coupled with this snob zoning mean there simply aren't many starter homes to go around. As a result the average age in these towns continues to climb, with many towns well known for "excellent public schools" having median ages of over 45.

There's a reckoning coming in these areas in the 2020s and 2030s, when the boomers who have aged in place die off en masse

Crawford Jul 23, 2019 1:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschaton (Post 8639308)
The author attributes this in part due to the sort of "snob zoning" common in established suburbs in the NYC metro. High housing costs coupled with "snob zoning" mean there simply aren't many "starter homes" to go around. As a result the average age in these towns continues to climb, with many towns well known for "excellent public schools" having median ages of over 45.

There's a reckoning coming in these areas in the 2020s and 2030s, when the boomers who have aged in place die off en masse

If you look at the FFC map you'll see the backcountry towns have the worst student declines, because they the most stringent zoning, and are least popular among those of child-bearing age. The professional families that used to move to (say) Wilton or Weston are staying in Manhattan/Brooklyn, choosing closer-in railroad suburbs like Larchmont or Bronxville, or have left the region for the Sunbelt.

You're right, of course. Unless demographic/housing preference trends undergo radical changes, there will be a huge reckoning in exurban America in the near future.

My parents live in a sort-of-Connecticut in Michigan (Bloomfield Hills), with giant homes in the woods, and I've had the same discussion with them. I have no idea who would buy their home. They have neighbors with 10,000 square foot homes with outrageous taxes/upkeep on dirt roads with well water and septic, and the power goes out five times a year. Any busy young couples up for that?

eschaton Jul 23, 2019 3:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 8639318)
You're right, of course. Unless demographic/housing preference trends undergo radical changes, there will be a huge reckoning in exurban America in the near future.

I mean, these areas just aren't really desirable any longer at all, meaning prices need to come down considerably to attract those of a lower SES. However, because so many people in these communities are choosing to age in place rather than downsize once the kids are out of the house, the housing supply is still relatively low - meaning we're not seeing as much of a price collapse as there ultimately has to be.

The real issue though is potential residents don't vote, meaning undoing the snob zoning will be hard. I mean, it's in the economic interests of the town as a whole - as well as individual sellers - if the multi-acre estates are broken up with more modest detached single-family homes and townhomes built instead. However, none of the people who aren't looking to sell yet have a financial interest in allowing these exiting neighbors to subdivide, and for whatever reason people either have outdated ideas about what builds property values or don't consider their actual self-interest when it comes to zoning. Meaning you could easily end up with a scenario in some of these towns where a lot of the properties are just straight-up vacant (or used as rentals) before anyone in the town gets it in their head to try something different.

Steely Dan Jul 23, 2019 4:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SIGSEGV (Post 8639139)
Yeah, my parents didn't move into a place with a yard until I was in 7th grade (by then, I had no need for one...). Apparently there are these places called parks where you can take kids to play :).

parks are great, but sometimes you just want to tell your kids to "go outside and play?", so you can do whatever shit you're trying to get done.

for older kids, a neighborhood park/playground can fulfill that role, but for younger kids, they can't really go to a park unsupervised. that's where the magic of a "yard" really shines.

now, some people take that too far and erroneously believe that, at an absolute minimum, kids need at least 1/4 acre of private outdoor space. our kids get along just fine with much less than that. between our deck, the back staircase, the shared patio in back, our building's small yard in front, and the long narrow gangway that connects them, they have fenced-in outside space to run around in. if we want to do something more sporting that requires more open space, we take them to the field at the school one block over.

JManc Jul 23, 2019 5:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8638806)
Wait, really?

I grew up in the hyper HIV atmosphere. I'm pretty sure that differed from the pre HIV era.

So did I. But unless you were religious, there was no stigma on multiple partners. There was a awareness on safety.

Don't Be That Guy Jul 23, 2019 5:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschaton (Post 8639308)
The author attributes this in part due to the sort of "snob zoning" common in established suburbs in the NYC metro. High housing costs coupled with this snob zoning mean there simply aren't many starter homes to go around. As a result the average age in these towns continues to climb, with many towns well known for "excellent public schools" having median ages of over 45.

There's a reckoning coming in these areas in the 2020s and 2030s, when the boomers who have aged in place die off en masse

This is happening in slow motion in Pittsburgh as well. Estate listings in in Fox Chapel are sitting on the market and selling at a much slower pace than adjacent Aspinwall, or in East End city neighborhoods. For those not familiar with Pittsburgh, this is a beautiful suburban area with easy access to the city in one of the most desirable school districts in the state. And while the homes are big, they are downright modest compared the ex-urban McMansions in the South and North Hills. But they are expensive, on large park-like parcels, in a community that is not walkable, and are 30-50 years old or older and in need of updating.

How many affluent young families with two working parents can afford to buy and update a 6,000 sf house and then have the time to maintain it and a two-acre yard?

Crawford Jul 23, 2019 5:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Don't Be That Guy (Post 8639582)
How many affluent young families with two working parents can afford to buy and update a 6,000 sf house and then have the time to maintain it and a two-acre yard?

That's the issue. And, for those who can afford it, who wants to live like this? It costs $250 just to clean the damn place. You'll have two furnaces and a $500 energy bill. You could spend six figures on a landscape rebuild. You practically need a part-time staff.

The suburbs won't die, but I don't know too many people would want a living space bigger than, say, 3,500 ft, or a multiacre lawn. Too much work, too much money, wrong location.

Steely Dan Jul 23, 2019 9:16 PM

informative read on the topic from citylab:

Quote:

Which U.S. Cities Have the Most Families With Kids?
Spoiler alert: It’s simply not the case that families with kids have disappeared from urban America.



Across the U.S., just 28.5 percent of households have their own children under 18. The first table below shows the 10 principal cities with the highest levels of childlessness. To be blunt, only a small number of cities can be said to be anywhere near childless.

Of the 47 cities with more than 350,000 people, just seven are far off the national average. San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. are the only three where less than a fifth of families have kids under 18. Add New Orleans (likely a result of depopulation after Hurricane Katrina), Miami (a retirement destination), Minneapolis, and Philadelphia to the list. The remainder of the top 10 is within five percentage points or so of the national average.

And some cities we commonly think of as childless are not so childless at all. In New York City, for example, 26.2 percent of families have children under 18; in Los Angeles, the share is 27 percent.


https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/m.../74c591739.png


What it boils down to is that childlessness is a product of a very limited number of cities, like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. And even in those places, the broader metro area is not so far off from the rest of the country. Actually, childlessness is only a phenomenon of a few uber-expensive neighborhoods in a few super-expensive cities.

This reflects how certain neighborhoods come to specialize in certain kinds of residents by income and stage of life. The childless city is less than it seems—more a myth than a reality of contemporary urban life.
full article: https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/01...ldfree/580372/

llamaorama Jul 23, 2019 10:35 PM

Something I've noticed about Houston is that I don't think school quality correlates much with what passes as the closest thing to "urbanism" around here.

The poorest, sketchiest parts of the city with the worst schools are either 1) low density old neighborhoods comprised of small, single story homes with a high proportion of empty lots or 2) very high density but not functionally urban clusters of 1970s era apartment complexes. Meanwhile the best urban schools, like Lamar and Memorial HS and their feeders, are in the handful of neighborhoods which are sort of urban-like(pre-war suburban mixed with more recent infill), meaning inside the loop west of downtown.

I imagine the bigger trend is money. Rich areas probably have fewer kids. I think that's the big picture trend, the correlation with the built environment is a weak one and probably just a spurious claim.

jmecklenborg Jul 24, 2019 12:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8638633)
I don't think young people have changed one bit, in America.

The Clean Air Act, the phasing out of leaded gas, and the steady removal of lead from the built environment has resulted in a dramatic drop in violent crime and teenage pregnancies. So yes, young people have changed a lot.

mhays Jul 24, 2019 12:33 AM

The reduction in murder etc. has also been pinned on other factors like policing style (which I doubt) and the availability of legal abortions (which seems like a likely factor).

Steely Dan Jul 24, 2019 12:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by llamaorama (Post 8639929)

I imagine the bigger trend is money. Rich areas probably have fewer kids. I think that's the big picture trend, the correlation with the built environment is a weak one and probably just a spurious claim.

And that relates back to eschaton's point about children being "roommates who don't pay rent". In a really expensive city like SF, a 3 bed place that rents for $5,000/month is simply going to be out of reach for most middle class families with multiple children, but for the DINKs who don't have daycare payments, college savings account payments, food/clothes, or the 8 billion other expenses that come with children, it becomes more possible. Likewise for the 3 tech bros who rent the place together for $1,700 per man.

Comparing like for like AGIs, the non-kid household will almost always be able to pay more for housing.

jtown,man Jul 24, 2019 2:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 8640010)
The Clean Air Act, the phasing out of leaded gas, and the steady removal of lead from the built environment has resulted in a dramatic drop in violent crime and teenage pregnancies. So yes, young people have changed a lot.

You're kidding, right?

Crime rates before the 1960s and out of wedlock births were MUCH lower than what we saw in the 60s 70s 80s and 90s. Somehow lead and air didn't impact crime until the 1960s...?

jtown,man Jul 24, 2019 2:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhays (Post 8640018)
The reduction in murder etc. has also been pinned on other factors like policing style (which I doubt) and the availability of legal abortions (which seems like a likely factor).

Poor people still have a lot of kids. Out of wedlock children exploded in the 1970s right when abortion became legal. Crime also exploded at about the right time.

Abortion
Unleaded gas
Lead
Clean Air Act


You guys are basically saying anything liberals love is good and causes good things lol

jmecklenborg Jul 24, 2019 4:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8640096)
You're kidding, right?

Crime rates before the 1960s and out of wedlock births were MUCH lower than what we saw in the 60s 70s 80s and 90s. Somehow lead and air didn't impact crime until the 1960s...?

Miles driven in the United States increased dramatically soon after lead was introduced to gasoline in the mid-1940s. So kids who were raised near expressways and along busy city streets in the 1950s and 60s were exposed to huge amounts of lead as compared to kids in those same areas just 10-20 years earlier.

Here is one recent article that explains the issue:
https://www.motherjones.com/environm...ildren-health/

mhays Jul 24, 2019 4:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8640096)
You're kidding, right?

Crime rates before the 1960s and out of wedlock births were MUCH lower than what we saw in the 60s 70s 80s and 90s. Somehow lead and air didn't impact crime until the 1960s...?

Quite a false leap you're making. Nothing in your sentence was claimed by anyone.

A few other things changed in the 60s...do you suppose any of that impacted crime? Social mores and drug availability for example.

I wish basic logic was taught more often.

Crawford Jul 24, 2019 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8640098)
Poor people still have a lot of kids.

This isn't true. Birthrates tied to income tiers have converged. Poor households aren't more likely to have more kids than wealthy households.
Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8640098)
Out of wedlock children exploded in the 1970s right when abortion became legal. Crime also exploded at about the right time.

Also not true. Crime exploded in the 1960's, not 70's. Abortion rates have nothing to do with out of wedlock children, obviously, and wouldn't have any immediate affect on crime, as if 1-year-olds commit felonies.
Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8640098)
You guys are basically saying anything liberals love is good and causes good things lol

Liberals love crime, abortion and out of wedlock children? Absurd and sad.

eschaton Jul 24, 2019 1:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8640098)
Poor people still have a lot of kids.

Poor people still have more kids than everyone else. IIRC only the bottom 25% and the top 1% in the U.S. actually are reproducing at above the replacement rate. But they don't have "a lot" of kids any longer.

Looking at the most recent census data, here are the average number of children per family household with kids under 18 by education level:

Less than HS: 2.23
HS Grad: 1.96
Some college: 1.92
Bachelors or higher: 1.86

Further, the average number of children per family for TANF recipients - though it varies from year to year - is typically less than 2. For example, this study from 2012 found an average of 1.8 per household.

SIGSEGV Jul 24, 2019 2:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschaton (Post 8640340)
Poor people still have more kids than everyone else. IIRC only the bottom 25% and the top 1% in the U.S. actually are reproducing at above the replacement rate. But they don't have "a lot" of kids any longer.

Looking at the most recent census data, here are the average number of children per family household with kids under 18 by education level:

Less than HS: 2.23
HS Grad: 1.96
Some college: 1.92
Bachelors or higher: 1.86

Further, the average number of children per family for TANF recipients - though it varies from year to year - is typically less than 2. For example, this study from 2012 found an average of 1.8 per household.

I wonder what fraction of people who drop out of high school due so because of kids...


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