yes, a city can get families

MLewyn's picture

Some people have argued that even if compact cities are terrific at attracting single people, they will never attract well-off families. But an article in today's N.Y, Times
(at suggests that if a city is attractive enough and compact enough, it can get affluent families back. Money quotes:

"Since 2000, according to census figures released last year, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan mushroomed by more than 32 percent. And though their ranks have been growing for several years, a new analysis for The New York Times makes clear for the first time who has been driving that growth: wealthy white families.

At least half of the growth was generated by children who are white and non-Hispanic. Their ranks expanded by more than 40 percent from 2000 to 2005. For the first time since at least the 1960s, white children now outnumber either black or Hispanic youngsters in that age group in Manhattan.

What those findings imply, demographers say, is not only that the socioeconomic gap between Manhattan and the other boroughs is widening, but also that the population of Manhattan, in some ways, is beginning to look more like the suburbs — or what they used to look like — than like the rest of the city.

“We knew Manhattan was having a baby boom,” said Andrew A. Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College of the City University of New York, who conducted the analysis. “Now we know who’s having the babies.”

Children under 5 now account for more than 1 in 20 Manhattan residents, about the same proportion as in Queens and Staten Island. Married couples in Manhattan are just as likely to have young children living at home as in the rest of the city and the metropolitan area."

Of course, the interesting question is: why NYC? Partially NYC's low crime rates, but surely there's more to it than that. My spin: density creates its own momentum. When density is high enough, city residents have lots of amenities that they wouldn't have in, say, downtown Jacksonville.


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