NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Friday, March 25, 2005

When the children are gone

The New York Times reports that Oregon's biggest city, Portland and many other large American metropolises, are facing a shortage of children:
It is a problem unlike the urban woes of cities like Detroit and Baltimore, where families have fled decaying neighborhoods, business areas and schools. 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.

Officials say that the very things that attract people who revitalize a city--dense vertical housing, fashionable restaurants and shops and mass transit that makes a car unnecessary--are driving out children by making the neighborhoods too expensive for young families.
With a declining population of young people in Nevada County, are we about to become a regional version of a mid sized city, full of retired folks who are demanding we make over the place to meet their needs. Will we all end up walking our parks, trails, Mill and Broad Streets straining to hear the voice of a child. A voice to refresh our memory of youthful days, brimming with life and carefree happy times.

Will Nevada County be where we want to live, if all the children are gone?

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