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Is The Tech Industry Driving Families Out of San Francisco? (nytimes.com) 386

Why does San Francisco now have fewer children per capita than any of America's largest 100 cities? An anonymous reader writes: A move to the suburbs began in the 1970s, but "The tech boom now reinforces the notion that San Francisco is a place for the young, single and rich," according to the New York Times. "When we imagine having kids, we think of somewhere else," one software engineer tells the paper. The article describes "neighborhoods where employees of Google, Twitter and so many other technology companies live or work" where the sidewalks make it seem "as if life started at 22 and ended somewhere around 40."

Or is San Francisco just part of a larger trend? "California, which has one of the world's 10 largest economies, recently released data showing the lowest birthrate since the Great Depression. And the Los Angeles Times argues California's experience may just be following national trends. The drop "likely stems from the recession, a drop in teenage pregnancies and an increase in people attending college and taking longer to graduate, therefore putting off having children, said Walter Schwarm, a demographer at the Department of Finance."

So is this part of a larger trend -- or something unique about San Francisco? The New York Times also quotes Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, who believes technology workers are putting off families when they move to the Silicon Valley area because they anticipate long working hours. There's also complaints about San Francisco's public school system -- 30% of its children now attend private schools, the highest percentage of any large American city. But according to the article, Peter Thiel believes that San Francisco is just "structurally hostile to families."
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Is The Tech Industry Driving Families Out of San Francisco?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2017 @12:36PM (#53715581)

    They can't admit that we're in the worst economy for young people since the Depression. They can't get jobs that pay enough for food and housing, let alone a wife and kids.

    • That's probably part of it, but compared to other cities, SF does seem to have fewer kids as a percentage of population. Is the economy worse in SF than it is in NYC or Chicago?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I've been to San Francisco many times (live 75 miles away) and Chicago only once. So I can't compare them. But what I see going to SF is that it is not a place to raise kids. There is no place for them to play. It mostly completely urbanized - where do you want them to play in the elevator for their tenement? Or give them some money so they can go get stabbed on the awful bus system on their way to an actual park (where they encounter homeless folks shooting up). If you have kids, you want to give them a be
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @02:08PM (#53716003)

        Is the economy worse in SF than it is in NYC or Chicago?

        No. The problem is exactly the opposite. The economy is booming, driving up demand for housing, and thus prices. A couple living in SF may spend half their income to rent a studio apt. There is no way to afford a place big enough to raise a kid, especially if they want to drop down to one income. So they hop on BART and head out to the suburbs.

        The real problem is the stagnation of the housing supply. 95% of all building permits in SF were denied last year, and very few builders even bothered to apply. People that own property in the city see new construction as a threat to their sky high property values, and even renters tend to be knee-jerk anti-growth BANANAs [wikipedia.org]. The people that want to live in SF but can't afford to, don't get a vote.

        • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @02:29PM (#53716109)

          I've been to San Francisco many, many times over the last 30 years and I've never understood why so many people want to live there. It's crowded, noisy, and expensive.

          If I had to guess why so many people want to live there I'd have to say it's because they've been told that "everyone wants to live there" - that it's the cool place to be.

          As far as I'm concerned it's one of the most expensive and impractical places to live that I've ever seen (and I've traveled the US extensively).

          Yes, the weather is generally nice, but there are quite a few places with nice weather. Yes they have a good nightlife and culture, but so do lots of other places.

          FFS, San Francisco is not the center of the universe. If you feel some dire need to live in a place with a reputation for being trendy and popular, be prepared to pay out the ass for it.

          Most of the people living in craptastic little studio apartments in San Francisco are paying double what my house payment is, sometimes triple. I hope that whatever you're getting for that money is worth it.

          • by hibiki_r ( 649814 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @03:42PM (#53716407)

            That's kind of the point of freedom of movement, isn't it? As more people want to move into a place, the place gets more crowded and prices rise. When people want to move out of a place, home prices go down. When San Francisco is incredibly attractive, the prices skyrocket to balance things out.

            I don't live in San Francisco, but my employer is based there, so I visit it a few times a year. Having been raised in Europe, if anything, I find it not crowded enough: It'd be a far more enjoyable city if it had less single family homes, and if the concept of an office building without dedicating its first floor to stores was borderline insane.

            If it wasn't for the price, I'd move to San Francisco in a nanosecond. But I'd much rather get the same salary in a place where a four bedroom house is $200K instead of 2 Million. But that's the price of living in a cultural center vs the middle of nowhere.

          • If I had to guess why so many people want to live there I'd have to say it's because they've been told that "everyone wants to live there" - that it's the cool place to be.

            I think it has to do with a larger employment pool. It is one of the reasons why I've always kept SF on the back of my mind. The cost and all the other negatives, OTH, have stopped me from moving my family there.

            My family and I live a good life in South Florida. Not the cheapest of places, but not uber expensive like San Francisco. A good house with a decent patio, not bad traffic, etc. The problem is that there are not that many product-oriented employers in the area. It's mostly IT (disproportionately

          • by humptheElephant ( 4055441 ) on Monday January 23, 2017 @08:58AM (#53719957)
            The middle class is being pushed out because of real estate developers taking advantage of the demand by the tech industry employees who have higher incomes. These middle class people are the writers, artists, musicians and other lower paid professions that made San Francisco such a vibrant place. The developers by up housing properties, evict the tenants and build higher priced housing that the former renters can no longer afford. It has caused a lot of resentment from these displaced people toward the tech industry. The local neighborhoods have been destroyed along with the smaller mom and pop type shops. Greed (pardon the expression) trumps the middle class. Alexandria Pelosi has made a documentary about these problems.
        • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @05:40PM (#53716963)

          Those people don't actually work in SF. Instead that is their bedroom community, and they commute an hour to work sound near San Jose. The reason Google has buses up there is because so many of their special snowflake workers live up there. Never mind that they're stepping over homeless people sleeping on their steps, they just can't even start to imagine living somewhere else. At least in Manhattan it has a lot of jobs for people who live there and commute there, but in San Francisco they commute to other cities to work.

    • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday January 22, 2017 @01:38PM (#53715829) Journal

      Housing prices in the bay area are insanely high, due to the hostility of the local governments to new construction and rental conversion. The supply is absurdly restricted.

      -jcr

      • It's impacted in area too. There's not much room to grow as there are mountains on both sides, and a bay down the middle. Growing up is the only option, or having jobs somewhere else in the state. Commute routes are inefficient because of geography.

    • They can't admit that we're in the worst economy for young people since the Depression. They can't get jobs that pay enough for food and housing, let alone a wife and kids.

      But that's not true about just San Francisco: it's true about the entire country. That reason wouldn't be forcing families out of the City: it would be forcing them out of California altogether

    • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @02:20PM (#53716073)

      They can't admit that we're in the worst economy for young people since the Depression. They can't get jobs that pay enough for food and housing, let alone a wife and kids.

      We are talking about San Francisco, where the economy is booming. The price of housing is skyrocketing precisely because people have more money to pay for housing. The problem has nothing to do with a weak economy.

      The problem is caused by zoning. Existing property owners know new construction could lower their existing home values, so building permits are severely restricted. If they allowed more new housing to be built, along with improving public transportation to accommodate greater demand, these problems would diminish.

      • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @04:33PM (#53716669) Homepage

        If [San Francisco] allowed more new housing to be built, along with improving public transportation to accommodate greater demand, these problems would diminish.

        I believe the problem can be summed up succinctly:

        Many people in San Francisco don't want any new buildings; they say the existing buildings are part of the charm of SF and they worry about sprawl. Some of them even have the idea [bizjournals.com] that building new stuff causes housing costs to go up due to "gentrification".

        Many people in San Francisco don't want the cost of housing to go up; they decry the trends where only wealthy people (many of them young technical workers at hot companies like Google) can live in SF, and they complain that the city would be more interesting with more starving artists, poets, musicians, etc. (And many hate the private bus systems [wired.com] offered by companies like Google.)

        Take both of the above together, and the people of San Francisco are never going to be happy. Not allowing more building capacity means prices will go up, prices going up means that artists and poets can't afford to live in the city. Protesting against the "Google Buses" does nothing to help any problems and just annoys people.

    • They can, but it's useless if that take those jobs and then insist on commuting from the most expensive place in the state. People complain about immigrant labor taking their jobs, but they do seem smart enough to actually live in affordable areas, they don't insist that their morning lattes come from the same block they live on, they're willing to drive a bit if they want to get mini cupcakes, and if they want to see culture in San Francisco then they can take mass transit on the weekend. Seriously, when

    • People living in SF are fantastically rich compared to the rest of the country because the salaries are outrageous. And the salaries are outrageous because the supply of the talent they want is low. Jobs are NOT the problem in SF.

  • Gay people (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gatkinso ( 15975 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @12:40PM (#53715607)

    Generally have a very low fertility rate.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They only make up about 6% of the population: http://www.gallup.com/poll/182... [gallup.com]

      The average is somewhere around 5% of humans are gay, and of course the poll only asks people so some may have denied it for various reasons. In other words, there isn't a particularly high proportion of gay people in SF.

    • "Fertile" means able to have children. Gays are just as able to. You mean "less likely." (Though some have children via surrogates or artificial insemination.)
  • by slk ( 2510 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @12:45PM (#53715627)
    San Francisco does a pretty good job keeping us out. Lousy schools, enough crime to be a real problem (especially since Prop 47), major homeless issues, and a terrible commute to the cites with jobs (2 hours each way = never seeing your kids).
    • Here I am sitting in the 'middle of nowhere' on 20 acres. If the kid wants go go outside, we go out side. Walk on our own property. Go sledding, biking, or what ever else he wants to do. If I need a workout I'll go fell some trees. I can't imagine trying to raise a kid in a concrete jungle.

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        Here I am sitting in the 'middle of nowhere' on 20 acres. If the kid wants go go outside, we go out side. Walk on our own property. Go sledding, biking, or what ever else he wants to do. If I need a workout I'll go fell some trees. I can't imagine trying to raise a kid in a concrete jungle.

        You do realize there are parks even in cities, right? I only live on a quarter acre of land, but we have a forest preserve and three parks within a mile of our house. The same is true of most desirable suburbs (perhaps not the forest preserves). I significantly prefer public parks to a huge private property for both the community aspect and the lack of maintenance effort.

        I grew up on a farm with a nearly 10 acres of non-field/pasture land to maintain, and I sure never want to go back to that. But I can at l

      • I can't imagine trying to raise a kid in a concrete jungle.

        Yet kids raised in rural areas are more obese than kids raised in cities.
        In a city, there is always something to go out and do.
        But when you've seen one cornfield, you've seen them all.

      • I can't either. I grew up in a small town, and now live in what I consider the urban wasteland (San Jose) but which the elites in San Franscisco call a suburb with disdain. I can't imagine living in SF, it's painful enough just visiting it.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @02:29PM (#53716111) Homepage

      It's all of that, yes. But it's also:

      * cost of living/price of housing per foot
      * food costs are insane
      * the culture is hostile to child rearing (even eg. Facebook offer bereavement leave and adoption assistance... but no on-premises childcare? That's standard for many large companies throughout the country.)
      * the tax rate is obscene
      * the tech work culture is extremely ageist, and anyone over 30 is going to encounter it
      * the SF area IT culture actively encourages career instability (which is problematic if you'd ever like to buy a house).

      You can make half as much in another locale and have twice the quality of living, if not more, in many other metro areas in the US, working in IT... if you're going to the bay area, you're likely in it to make a mark and a name, not to raise a family.

  • The Rise of the Creative Class, who believes technology workers are putting off families when they move to the Silicon Valley area because they anticipate long working hours

    More like The Decline of the Creative Class, where creativity must be focused on making a buck at all costs, stifling creative exploration of alternatives, right down to individual workers. No more "let's try 3 ways to solve this problem, then take the best one" - now it's "just fix the damn thing - we'll patch it afterwards - or maybe not. The Internet generation is full of people who are willing to put up with being exploited both as workers and as users because TEH INNERTOOBS!"

    A whole industry where most of the "work" is trying to copy someone else's ideas to try to steal some of their market share is only fostering creativity in hucksterism, hype, spin, and con artistry.

  • Mixing two stories (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mattwarden ( 699984 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @12:51PM (#53715653)

    This post is two stories linked together without justification. Families aren't in SF... because young people work long hours? And the public school system sucks? The public school system sucks in nearly every urban area, so pretty sure that is not it. How about SF is one of the most expensive cities for housing per sqft and land per acre? How about housing costs as a % of income leads to people sharing housing with (paying!) roommates?

    SF has geographic barriers preventing it from engaging in that evil thing called urban sprawl. And hen idiot voters and politicians overlay further anti-sprawl policies and stupid zoning decisions. Well, sprawl is a major housing price regulator. Without sprawl, your only option to address increasing demand is increasing density, and you can only squeeze more units per sq mi so much.

    Im not saying housing costs explain this phenomenon completely. But it's pretty strange that it's completely omitted!

    • because I live in a well to do part of town with high property values (and therefor taxes). If the public school system sucks in San Francisco with their property values being what they are then something is very, very wrong.

      Those zoning decisions are anything but stupid. They're carefully thought out to achieve a certain goal. The question that's being asked in TFS is: is that goal forcing families and lower income people out of San Fransisco? A corollary to that is: is that an accident or on purpose?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Alan Shutko ( 5101 )

        Part of SF's budget problems can be traced to Prop 13, which limits the increase of property tax when property values increase. So even though property values are through the roof, that doesn't mean much extra revenue.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Snotnose ( 212196 )
          I get so tired of this shit getting pulled out. Prop 13 was passed over 40 years ago. If the state can't figure out how to live within it's means in 40 years the problem ain't not letting it raise taxes enough to force retirees out of houses they've lived in their entire lives.
          • by jbolden ( 176878 )

            Prop 13 is cumulative in its effects. Every year it is going to get worse. Year 1 the effect was minimal. As far as forcing retirees out of houses, being forced to sell useless property and turn it over to better more productive use sounds like a societal benefit to me. Why retire on expensive real estate?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          It wouldn't really help the residents living in those properties if their tax burden went up so much that they were forced to move out.

        • by fozzy1015 ( 264592 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @02:11PM (#53716011)
          Bay Area property tax revenue has been going up quite well.

          http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/Bay-Area-property-tax-assessments-on-a-roll-834918

          Don't forget that under prop 13 the property tax on a unit is reassessed based on the sale price when it exchanges hands or a newly built unit is sold. With the current housing boom/bubble going on that means quite a large increase in tax revenue.

          There's really no excuse for the city of SF to have budget problems except for the greed of its own politicians. In San Francisco there are homeless everywhere. Just like 20 years ago. You have to be careful not to step on human feces in certain places. Yet the city's budget states that $241 million dollars was spent on its homeless problem in 2016. Nearly a quarter of a billion dollars! San Francisco employees 30,000 city workers in a city with 837,000 people. In 1970 the number of city workers was 15,000 serving a population of 714,000. The current ratio is outrageous, especially to people living in the city who wonder what's the result of having all these employees when the streets are filled with trash. The argument as to why SF city worker compensation is so high is that today's city employees are trained in specializations. That's a fair argument. Yet why does the city need twice as many employees for a population that's only 15% greater than it was over 45 years ago? When modern technology has brought more automation in that time and not less? Half of SF's budget goes to its employees.

          My question for you is - why should the rest of California's home owners have to pay with the repeal of prop 13 because San Francisco decided(through its residents who keep voting for this type of government) to run its own socialism experiment?
        • SF Bay Area tax revenue has been increasing just fine: http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/Bay-Area-property-tax-assessments-on-a-roll-8349188.php

          Don't forget that under prop 13 the property tax of a unit is reassessed at market value when it exchanges hands or a brand new unit is sold. With the current housing boom(bubble) going incredibly strong in this part of the country tax revenue has been increasing significantly.

          There's no excuse for SF's budget problems except for its own politicia
          • by jbolden ( 176878 )

            How does repealing Prop 13 have a net negative effect on anyone?

            Take a community with property taxes ranging from .1% to 2.5% of current value, with an average of .6% because of prop 13. Repeal 13 and the property tax rates for everyone go to .6%. Obviously the people paying .1 or .2% suffer but there is a corresponding and exactly equal gain for the people paying 2.5%. All repealing 13 does is remove an artificial barrier to trade.

        • I paid plenty of property tax under the prop 13 scheme and my taxes definitely went up significantly. They went up enough for us to decide to leave California.

          While the base assessment stays constant to the purchase price of the house, the voters increase property taxes by adding parcel fees. Parcel fees are taxes and require a 2/3 super-majority in order to pass. Including the parcel fees, which are collected with the base property tax, I saw my property tax increase well over 80% in the 10 years I owned a

      • by Elentar ( 168685 )

        San Francisco has implemented a school lottery. Siblings get first priority, followed by kids from low-income neighborhoods, followed by actual local residents. Almost everyone I know who had kids while living in S.F. either paid for private school ($25k/year and up) or moved out of town, because they didn't get into a good school.

        Yes, housing is expensive and public transit is inferior and the crime rate is undesirable and there aren't enough public parks. Most people I know would tolerate all of that if t

      • > Those zoning decisions are anything but stupid.
        > They're carefully thought out to achieve a certain
        > goal. The question that's being asked in TFS is: is
        > that goal forcing families and lower income people
        > out of San Fransisco? A corollary to that is: is that an
        > accident or on purpose?

        I don't think it's actual malice, just stupidity... or maybe nostalgia turned up to 11. There's a significant, and very vocal, segment of the populace in San Francisco who have this image in their head of

      • > Those zoning decisions are anything but stupid. They're carefully thought out to achieve a certain goal.

        There is a pretty strong consensus that poor zoning in SF, NYC, etc. is a major cause of housing unaffordability. e.g. https://www.nber.org/papers/w8... [nber.org]

        > The question that's being asked in TFS is: is that goal forcing families and lower income people out of San Fransisco?

        Where do you get that from? TFS blamed long hours and public school quality.

        > Remember, the young rich people there need poor

    • The most significant "geographic barrier" to this story is San Jose. All the tech industry's families are being raised in the urban sprawl that is categorised as part of it, rather than part of SF.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      San Fransisco has a population density of 2700 people / sq mile. LA and NYC are around 4600. Really crowded areas like Mumbai are around 63k. You could fit a lot more people in.

    • San Francisco could be easily four times denser than it is. SoMa might have all this new shiny startups, but it still feels full of warehouses, and 5 stories is considered tall. The east side of the Mission is also full of warehouses and single family homes, just with tiny yards. And that's without getting into the very low density of the west side of San Francisco, which is about as dense as the old, more cramped midwestern suburbs. San Francisco could, and should, develop in the same way a Madrid and Manh

  • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @12:56PM (#53715679)
    I haven't really wanted to live in San Francisco before, but this article is making a pretty good case for it. Are there other cities, worldwide, which are largely childless? Is there a list? I am willing to learn a new language.
  • San Francisco (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @01:05PM (#53715711)

    San Francisco isn't "structurally hostile to families", it's just "hostile". It's full of the mega-wealthy, drug addicts, homeless, sex crazed singles, tech bros, and political extremists. For each of those groups, San Francisco has some attraction, but if you aren't in one of those groups, why would you want to live there?

    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )
      Exactly. Everyone who's not into living with those people basically moved to the South Bay. It's a good place to raise kids, with lots of parks, many high quality public schools [latimes.com], low crime rates [neighborhoodscout.com], and plenty of tech companies, like Apple, Google and Facebook that are headquartered there.

      The fact that SF is bad for raising kids have nothing to do with the tech boom. It's always been a city where the dredges of society are tolerated, if not welcomed. If anything, gentrification by tech workers is making it
  • when you are too busy running around, smelling your own farts all the time.

  • I find it bizarre that there are no companies out there seeing this exodus of people who are probably very talented and taking advantage of it elsewhere. Has America become so mutual back scratchy that we must all live beside each other now? What is keeping all these companies in one place? Tax differences? Well then tax them more for crying out loud. They are using American infrastructure on a national level. If it is worth it to the nation to risk some that leave and "courageous" ones that stay *cou
    • Has America become so mutual back scratchy that we must all live beside each other now? What is keeping all these companies in one place? Tax differences?

      The wealthy founders and investors like living in Silicon Valley. In addition, the Bay Area is massively subsidized. Put those two together, and you understand why people aren't leaving in even larger numbers than they are (and they are already leaving).

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      What you are asking is what Paul Krugman got his Noble Prize for. The issue is networks of highly specialized skill sets. Let's take a non tech example. There are for given organic molecules only about 10 people in the world who understand their properties in terms of cooking them together well enough to design API processes (the step before making drugs). You need lots of these people to work together to design a drug. So to have a complex economy these people must be collocated in a completely non ra

    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

      I find it bizarre that there are no companies out there seeing this exodus of people who are probably very talented and taking advantage of it elsewhere.

      There's no exodus. If rent prices is any indication, there's a huge influx of tech workers. The kind of people that are leaving are the kind that tech companies don't hire. So yes, if you want to start an art gallery in Utah, then yes, you'll have ex-SF people to hire.

      What is keeping all these companies in one place? Tax differences? Well then tax them more for crying out loud.

      Actually SF has very high taxes already, so no, the companies are not there for tax reasons. If you compare labor costs in SF with the rest of the country, it's costs double to hire the same person. Half of that being taxes, and the other half

      • So in other words while they flitter away at self driving, what we really need are collaborative solutions that make it irrelevant where the people are. I thought that problem had been solved twenty times over already.
  • by StandardCell ( 589682 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @01:43PM (#53715861)
    There are no realistic options for families in the Bay Area any more for housing. Salaries aren't rising fast enough for skilled people to accommodate the housing crunch, and employees are expected to take the brunt of this situation.

    If you were established before the 2000 bubble, or happened to catch the housing dips in 2002 and 2009 (especially for rent controlled areas like SF), you are probably ok provided you don't have to commute too far from your residence or are lucky enough to live near BART or Caltrain. If you didn't get in, you are either a perpetual renter or taking huge risks between the influx of new rich money and foreign all-cash purchases of homes. This also presumes that you're in a good school district. Sure, everyone wants their kids going to a school like Mission San Jose in south Fremont, but many can only afford to live in Hayward where the schools are hit and miss. Waiting lists for child care are at least a year long virtually everywhere within 60 miles of SF/SJ/Oakland and are horrendously expensive. Prop 13 and the special FHA non-conforming mortgage limit of $729K ($300K above every other state in the country for some unknown reason) have held up the distortion of property values. Any attempt at high-density housing is often met with hostility from environmental NIMBYs and hostile existing property owners unwilling to give any room to these efforts by filing complaints and grievances. The intense culture surrounding perpetual property value increases is baffling in one sense considering the supposed social conscience that is supposed to exist in the Bay Area.

    The perpetual renter scenario where schools don't count only really benefits non-family entities like singles and couples. For them and the folks who got in early, the Bay Area is indeed a great and livable place, with tons of great live music, museums, art, outdoor activities, and year-round great weather (except for SF in July...). Especially for younger folks trying to establish themselves professionally, there probably is no better place to work in that regard. For the rest who would get in this late in the game who have or want a family, enormous sacrifices in money, time and compromise of personal relationships are the only way to deal with this. After all, people paying $1000/month to live in a tent in someone's back yard is somehow acceptable and even funny when you got in early. For the low-income and disadvantaged, the burdens are extremely intense, and that's without the snowflakes complaining about the homeless in SF because they think they're entitled to perfection because they chose to live in the Mission for the cultural value.

    These aren't realistic choices any more for many of us. These are only exaggerated for low-income individuals who have even fewer choices. There is an enormous elephant in the middle of the room, and the haves demure on this point without realizing that there will be a breaking point sooner or later. The Bay Area is truly the land of "Last one in is a rotten egg" and there's no end in sight.
    • Well, if I owned property in the area, I would try to prevent others from reducing the value of my property. I think that is completely reasonable for a property owner to do. Especially if he earns money from rents.

      • This is not as straightforward as you would make it out [mercurynews.com]. Lawsuits and other tactics to slow or stop development are a known problem in the state of California. Holding up a dedicated left turn signal for a year to a beach because of an environmental impact is lunacy, and that is how the authorities saw it.

        When such actions create artificial distortions and impact others negatively, their right to impose such problems on others stops.
    • by rworne ( 538610 )

      Any attempt at high-density housing is often met with hostility from environmental NIMBYs and hostile existing property owners unwilling to give any room to these efforts by filing complaints and grievances. The intense culture surrounding perpetual property value increases is baffling in one sense considering the supposed social conscience that is supposed to exist in the Bay Area.

      Wait.. I've heard this before. It's called: "I've got mine, so fuck you!"

      I never knew SF was such a bastion of Republican values... It seems like personal greed is universal despite political ideologies.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The fucktarded unified school district in SF is driving families out of the city. I live in SF, I am a CTO and certainly a onepercenter. I have a 6 y.o. We are looking to move out of SF to the East Bay because unified school district makes public schools unreachable. Effectively we would have to drive the kid accross the city if we want public school. We pay for a private school instead. It's disgustingly expensive at 30K+ per year and not that good.

  • by aoism ( 996912 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @01:47PM (#53715885)
    I lived childless in the inner sunset of SF for 10 years, from 2005 until 2015, and I've never seen such a kid unfriendly city in my life. Try pushing a stroller/pram through neighborhood grocery store aisles, or bringing them on the bus, and you'll get the sneer of your live from the people who feel like your impeding their travels. Do you live in a decent neighborhood? Well, chances are your kid won't go to a school near you. They get entered in to a lottery, and they may have to bused 2 hrs round trip across the city to go to a school in bayview, because they are trying to integrate the bad and good schools. Do you like poop? because your 2 or 3 year old will step and play in human poop as they walk down the sidewalk.

    My wife and I aren't dot com millionaires, so for us, the threat of being evicted from our rent controlled apartments was too much to bear if we had a kid. We didn't like the prospect of raising a kid in a 600 sqft 'starter' home for 750k either. That money could be spent on the kids education if we moved to a more affordable place, so we did. We bought a 6 bedroom, 3500 sqft place in Austin for 300k, and had our first of hopefully 2 natural 1 adopted kids. We have a backyard with a tree house in it, there are neighborhood kids playing in the streets every night, and he will have at most a 10 minute commute by foot to the best schools in the city. All of that money we would've paid in to the privilege of an SF condo is now in his college fund. We love the bay area so much but it's not a place for kids at all.
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Are the problems you had in SF the fault of the Tech Industry? Or were they caused by politicians who have gone off the scale compared to politicians in Texas?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by aoism ( 996912 )
        A mixture of both, I think. When techies lower the bar for what 'shelter' means, and live 8 people to one 2 bedroom apartment each paying $2k a month, it makes it that much more difficult for a family of 3 to get a place of their own. We were paying 2300/month for a 1 bedroom, which is really great because of 10 years of rent control but not great when you need the kid to have their own room. After we left they renovated the place, turned the living room in to two bedrooms and split the bedroom in to 2 for
    • Do you like poop?

      I'm pretty sure families love poop since kids generate so much of it that must be cleaned and/or examined by parents. It doesn't seem like a little extra would be an issue.

  • I can definitely tell you the same things could be said about Washington DC. Not only are the housing costs sky high, but even if you want to pretend families living and working in that area are all wealthy enough so that's a non-issue? (And trust me, that would be a poor assumption.) The city itself isn't conducive to having a family at all. You really can't get around easily with an automobile. At best, you're going to have to get REALLY good with tedious parallel parking almost every time you need to go someplace and get used to circling around blocks multiple times, hunting for a space. Most of the time, you're going to have insane traffic gridlock on top of that, ensuring you're late to plenty of doctor's appointments and other things you need to take your kid(s) to. The preferred mode of transit is the Metro system, which is really not workable for a family. It's fine for the couple who has only one kid that's still a baby (though a stroller is going to be a big pain navigating the metro stations and getting it onto and off of crowded metro trains). But if you're like many of us, who have a few kids and/or pre-teens? You're looking at paying full price for each fare for them, and issuing each of them their own metro pass to keep filled with funds. A short trip during "peak" operating hours will set a family of 6 back at least $25 or so, round trip. You could use Uber or a cab, but same problem with it getting expensive quickly.

    I think it's a general theme for cities with lots of high income job offerings, really. They cater to the individual employee or contractor working there, and to the idea that they may have a partner (whether business partner or relationship) with them. Once you get married and have kids? You're no longer their core focus, because after all -- you're committed to a lot of other responsibilities besides your work-life at that point.

  • If it weren't for the latest tech bubble keeping them afloat, California would be completely screwed [battleswarmblog.com].

    California has:

    * High state income taxes, and overall it's one of the highest taxed states in the country [freedominthe50states.org].
    * Over $1.3 TRILLION in government debt [california...center.org], much in underfunded public employee union pension obligations.
    * A regulatory and legal climate that stifles growth and drives businesses out of the state [ocregister.com] to lower tax, lower regulation, lower cost states like Texas.
    * Schools that are some of the worst in the natio [sfgate.com]

  • Kids are expensive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bananaquackmoo ( 1204116 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @03:23PM (#53716329)
    Expensive areas to live in don't leave much of a budget for raising kids
  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @03:28PM (#53716353) Homepage

    I think the article is talking about 3 different trends as one.

    a) The Western economies are structurally biased against children. The cost of raising a middle class child (all inclusive) is about $3m in NPV terms by the time they stop needing to be fully supported. Society clearly covers some of the educational expenses, employers cover some of the medical expenses but parents absorb a huge burden in lost wages and money spent. What societies of asking of parents is too much of a burden. There needs to be more subsidization if we want to maintain a higher birthrate.

    b) In America we have had a government policy for a generation of depressing wages, particularly in areas of the economy that impact the bottom half of males. That's resulted in a huge drop off in family formation for the bottom half of the labor pool. With easy and reliable birth control the birthrate has been declining among this demographic drastically.

    c) San Fransisco has high rents a good services for singles and thus disproportionately people without children will want to live there. That's causing immigration of singles in and emigration of family people out.

    Obviously all 3 hit San Fransisco but I don't see how San Fransisco can itself address (a) or (b).

  • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @05:20PM (#53716861) Journal
    It has been shown that older tech workers adapt and handle new systems better than younger tech workers. [cio.com] They have had to learn how to integrate diverse systems and how to manage less than optimal solutions. This happens with experience. Experience that younger workers don't have. If you want the best workers, it is counterproductive to drive those people away.
  • Vancouver BC for example is the only school district in British Columbia having a declining rate of school enrollment. Yes it does have to do with the city being completely unaffordable for average people, especially with kids; so they move away. But Vancouver while it chirps about having a great tech sector, it isn't anything like San Fran's and not even as good as other places in Canada. Mainly because they can't attract young workers easily due to the extreme cost of living.
  • by hambone142 ( 2551854 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @06:37PM (#53717253)

    I started out my career in Silicon Valley. Beginning around the late 70's, housing costs have skyrocketed. San Francisco is one of the most-expensive places to live in the Bay Area and has been for a very long time.

    It's an issue of supply and demand. There is a very short supply of housing (nearly all land has been built on) and the demand due to jobs is very high.

    I chose to move out of the Bay Area and move about 120 miles East, while still working in tech. My company saw the high cost of living and decided to build new plants elsewhere where the cost of housing (and living) wasn't so high.

    I greatly-improved my standard of living by moving out of the Bay Area.

    You can't really blame "tech jobs" for increasing the cost of living. There just isn't enough land to build on. It's already been "built out" so that increases the demand for housing, driving the cost up.

    Also, San Francisco is a very bad place to raise children. There is no place for them to safely play. The schools are shit and the general population is rather snotty. The traffic is awful and the drivers are rude and impatient.

    I don't know why an adult would want to live there, let alone one with a family.

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @09:59PM (#53718193)

    California/Silicon Valley government has made it simultaneously illegal for folks of ordinary means to access new housing (NIMBY) and to support themselves (for example it's against regulations to cook food at home and sell it to neighbors). At the same time, tech corporations pay very little taxes as for some insane (likely lobbyist-driven) risen, Prop 13 that was intended to help grandma applies to commercial real estate.

    So we have a handful of tech corporations and thousands of young single employees in tiny studios living among crumbling infrastructure and Democratic party officials wondering why they lost on national arena.

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