The New York Times notes that San Francisco, with a population of 865,000 has “ roughly the same number of dogs as children: 120,000. In many areas of the city, pet grooming shops seem more common than schools.” San Francisco’s technology boom has resulted in high prices and families fleeing the city, with 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.”
In 1970, about 25 per cent of the population was composed of children, with 90,000 pupils in public schools. Today that figure is 53,000 kids in school, with kids comprise 13 per cent of the population. By comparison, New York’s population of kids is 21 per cent, and Chicago’s is 23 per cent under 18 years of age.
California, which has one of the world’s 10 largest economies, recently released data showing the lowest birthrate since the Great Depression. “Sometimes I’ll be walking through the city and I’ll see a child and think, ‘Hey, wait a second. What are you doing here?’” said Courtney Nam, who works downtown at a tech start-up. “You don’t really see that many kids.” And in an interview in 2016, the co-founder of PayPal Peter Thiel described San Francisco as “structurally hostile to families.”
“A report released on Tuesday by the San Francisco Planning Department said the building boom in the city, which for the most part has introduced more studios and one-bedroom apartments, was unlikely to bring in more families. For every 100 apartments in the city sold at market rates, the San Francisco school district expects to enroll only one additional student, the report said.”
Urbanist Richard Florida notes that as jobs become more specialized and longer hours are required, people are putting off having families. Initiatives such as San Francisco’s requirement to offer six weeks of fully paid leave for new parents, is designed to encourage families with children.
Meanwhile back in Metro Vancouver The Richmond News reports that the City of Richmond has voted down a Girl Guides campsite slated to replace the off-leash dog park at McDonald Beach Park on the Fraser River. As one relieved dog owner stated “This is a great place for socializing,” despite the fact that off-leash Iona Regional Park is nearby. Reasons offered for excluding the children’s camping included airport noise and fire ants.