A very interesting article in the New York Times by Thomas Fuller, entitled "San Francisco Asks: Where Have All the Children Gone?" reveals a developing problem for many of the large urban centers in the United States – a shrinking number of children.
The article suggests that the primary reason for the decrease in the number of households with children between birth and age eighteen is the cost of living – particularly the cost of housing. The article finds that most new housing construction in San Francisco is of studios and one bedroom apartments.
While the cost of living may be one factor, I propose that it is not the only factor. I would also argue that it is not the primary factor. The other factors are not as self-congratulatory as saying that San Francisco attracts and caters to more affluent persons.
Abortion. Abortion is one reason that only thirteen percent (112,450) of the total population of San Francisco (865,000) is between birth and age eighteen. Throughout the United States since Roe v. Wade, there have been approximately four million births every year. The average number of abortions during the same period is approximately one million per year. Twenty percent of the population is eliminated by abortion per year.
Assuming that San Francisco’s abortion rate is equivalent to the rate across the United States, without abortion the number of children would increase to fifteen to sixteen percent (15%-16%). That is between 17,300 and 26,000 children.
Worldview. San Francisco is known for and boasts of its liberal worldview. It is considered one of the top ten liberal locations in the United States. Such a liberal worldview, I argue, is not family-friendly. Parents in general find San Francisco a positive location for raising children.
Fertility Gap. Studies have shown that there is a fertility gap between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives tend to have more children. One study that corrected for other variables found that conservative households have twenty percent more children than liberal households.
Since San Francisco tends to attract and retain residents with more liberal views, this fertility gap certainly has an impact on the number of children in the city. If San Francisco would have in some way made an attempt to accommodate conservatives, the number of children would have increased by another twenty percent (20%).
As it is, the City of San Francisco has reaped what it has sown. Instead of having 157,430 children in the city, it now has 112,450 – that is, approximately thirty schools!
If “children are our future,” what is the future of San Francisco?