It costs too much to buy a home in San Francisco. Families are leaving. The city is not able to keep them.
Big cities with high prices are becoming demographically old cities.
The future is with smaller cities. The Internet makes jobs available there. The cities were the heart of production in the pre-Internet era. No longer.
In 2011, if you made $110,000 in San Francisco, you could afford only 23% of the homes offered for sale, mostly in the parts of town where families fear to live.
Median price: $668,000.
These were just a few of the scores of statistics presented at a special Board of Supervisors hearing Thursday to help explain why San Francisco is bleeding families with children — losing 5,278 people younger than 18 between 2000 and 2010, according to census figures.
The city is aging.
Just 13.4 percent of San Francisco’s 805,235 residents are younger than 18, the smallest percentage of any major city in the country. By contrast, San Jose’s percentage of children is 24.8 percent, Oakland’s is 21.3 percent, Boston’s is 16.8 percent and Seattle’s is 15.4 percent, according to Brian Cheu, director of community development for the Mayor’s Office of Housing. Even Manhattan is composed of roughly 15 percent children, according to Dan Kelly, director of planning for San Francisco’s Human Services Agency.
In 1970, children made up 22 percent of San Francisco. In 1960, they constituted 25 percent.
The decline in the price of housing has helped some cities compete for families. It has not done anything for San Francisco.
Families will live where they can buy the lifestyle parents want. The middle-class family cannot afford to live in San Francisco if it wants a three-bedroom, two-bath home with a yard. Parents with families prefer this to townhouses. In San Francisco, only 2% percent of new housing units built in the city since 2001 are single-family, detached homes.
Cities that cannot attract families will decline in influence. Opportunities will be in regions that are affordable to new families. This offer will draw families: “You can afford to own a home here.” Jobs of the future will be here.