May 2005: Population

Vibrant Cities Find One Thing Missing: Children Hispanic Family Size in USA is Shrinking   VIBRANT CITIES FIND ONE THING MISSING: CHILDREN – The Pearl District in the heart of this perpetually self-improving city seems to have everything in new urban design and comfort…Everything except children. Crime is down. New homes and businesses are sprouting everywhere. But in what may be Portland’s trendiest and fastest-growing neighborhood, the number of school-age children grew by only 3 between the census counts in 1990 and 2000, according to demographers at Portland State University. “The neighborhood would love to have more kids; that’s probably the top of our wish list,” said Joan Pendergast of the Pearl Neighborhood Association. Portland is one of the nation’s top draws for the kind of educated, self-starting urbanites that midsize cities are competing to attract. But as these cities are remodeled to match the tastes of people living well in neighborhoods that were nearly abandoned a generation ago, they are struggling to hold on to enough children to keep schools running and parks alive with young voices.  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. The problem is not just that American women are having fewer children, reflected in the lowest birth rate ever recorded in the country....