A recent article in the New York Times calls attention to an odd trend: the low number of young families in the nation’s more “vibrant,” fast-growing neighborhoods.
San Francisco, where the median house price is now about $700,000, had the lowest percentage of people under 18 of any large city in the nation, 14.5 percent, compared with 25.7 percent nationwide, the 2000 census reported. Seattle, where there are more dogs than children, was a close second. Boston, Honolulu, Portland, Miami, Denver, Minneapolis, Austin and Atlanta, all considered, healthy, vibrant urban areas, were not far behind… Officials say that the very things that attract people who revitalize a city – dense vertical housing, fashionable restaurants and shops and mass transit that makes a car unnecessary – are driving out children by making the neighborhoods too expensive for young families.
And here I thought Honolulu was crawling with kids. Sure, I live in Mililani, suburban stay-at-home-mom capital of the state, but even when we lived in the heart of dense Makiki, there were kids everywhere. I suppose, like expectant parents, it’s one of those things you only really notice when you’re part of the group.
I definitely know that rising home prices are a major challenge here. Our median home prices are well above $500,000, and not much lower on the neighbor islands. If we had a diverse economy like San Francisco, that wouldn’t be too bad. But Hawaii is a largely a state of service industry workers and others in low-paying jobs. Seeing three, even four generations crammed into a home, or even an apartment, is not uncommon. And those parents are probably already working three jobs.
I was born and raised here. I want to stay here forever. But sometimes I think we’ll all have to end up in Montana or something one day, if we want to keep a roof over our heads.[via Julie Leung]