There was a time when couples from the suburbs might hire a babysitter or drop their children at the grandparents in order to splurge on a weekend in Boston. Now, it’s not just Boston hotels that are the scene of such kid-free getaways; that’s increasingly the profile of those making their home across Boston’s neighborhoods.
A new report from The Boston Foundation puts hard numbers to a trend that’s been apparent to anyone observing changes across the city’s landscape. Boston’s population of school-age children has dropped by about 10,000 since 2000, a period in which the city added 100,000 new residents, many of them more affluent educated whites drawn to the mix of high-paying jobs and vibrant urban living.
The result: Lots more places to grab a pricey latte, while neighborhoods are being drained of the kids that once formed their lifeblood and defined the scenes and sounds of local streets.
There are barely half as many kids in Boston as there were in 1950, and those that remain tend to be poor and black or Latino. There are now only about 75,000 children aged 5 to 17 in a city of nearly 700,000 residents.
There are lots of reasons for the exodus, but chief among them appears to be the skyrocketing cost of housing in the city along with continued lack of confidence in the city’s public school system.
To borrow from the sommelier-speak of the city’s glut of high-end restaurants, the new demographics report pairs well with another story in today’s Globe, one that has become so common that it no longer shocks the senses. It reports that developers are planning a 19-story apartment building in Bay Village with two-bedroom apartments that will fetch rents of $7,000 a month. (Before overly despairing of the price tag, factor in that it will include super fast Wi-Fi and weekly cleaning service!)
City officials have said the flood of luxury housing being built in Boston will relieve pressure on the city’s existing housing stock. While that supply-and-demand theory may hold true at the regional level, it’s hard to see, for example, how the massive development boom in the Forest Hills area of Jamaica Plain isn’t simply pushing rents higher in nearby three-deckers, as the area becomes increasingly desirable.
Meanwhile, the continued struggle of the city’s school systems, where several dozen schools have been bumping along the bottom of state achievement results for years, is doing little to convince better-off families who enjoy the option of suburban life that Boston is the place to raise their children.
On the heels of this month’s State of the City speech, where Mayor Marty Walsh pointed to all the good news in Boston, it’s a sobering reality check.
Boston is hardly alone in witnessing the hollowing out of what was once the bedrock demographic of US cities — the Globe says children now make-up an even smaller share of the population in other booming coastal cities like San Francisco and Seattle.
But that’s small comfort for those wishing for a Boston that’s more than just a city of have-a-lots and have-nots.
Gov. Charlie Baker set a goal of net zero emissions by 2050, and indicated his primary vehicle for getting there is the transportation climate initiative, which is facing pushback in neighboring states. The governor said his FY2021 budget would also include $135 million more in operating funds for the T. (CommonWealth)
Globe columnist Renée Graham offers her own “rant” against Baker following his use of the word to describe Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s speech to a Boston gathering commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Municipal officials tout the benefits of the state’s film tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of 2022 unless the Legislature intervenes. (CommonWealth)
The Diocese of Fall River is being pressured to release a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, well known for representing sexual abuse victims in claims against the Archdiocese of Boston, released his own list of nine priests and one Catholic church employee within the Diocese of Fall River. (Standard-Times)
A new report details 16 barriers to housing access in Northampton and what can be done to address them. (Daily Hampshire Gazette
The Senate adopted rules governing the impeachment trial of President Trump, delaying until much later in the proceedings the decision of whether to call witnesses. (Washington Post)
A super PAC with close ties to Gov. Charlie Baker is cruising, continuing to rake in money at a rapid pace. (CommonWealth)
Hillary Chabot says Deval Patrick’s longshot presidential bid is leaning on a “motley crew” from his gubernatorial years that includes two people, former lieutenant governor Tim Murray and one-time community liaison Ron Bell, who left their positions under less than flattering circumstances. (Boston Herald)
The Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group in Washington, DC, presses for an FEC investigation of US Rep. Lori Trahan, claiming she knowingly violated federal law by loaning her campaign money in 2018. (Eagle-Tribune)
One Republican and two Democrats are running for the seat vacated by Shauna O’Connell, who is now the mayor of Taunton. (Taunton Gazette)
Despite a judge’s order, an Iranian student seeking to start classes at Northeastern University is deported. (CommonWealth) Lawyers say at least 10 Iranian students have been deported in the last year, with some of the students saying they were given no explanation. Immigration officials declined to explain, saying federal privacy laws bar them from commenting on individual cases. (CommonWealth)
John Brown, an employee at PSAV, explains why he and his coworkers are forming a union at one of the nation’s leading event companies. (CommonWealth)
Stonebridge Mutual Properties hopes to construct a 44-unit apartment building on the former site of Central Glass, next door to downtown Brockton’s commuter rail station and bus terminal. (The Enterprise)
Williams College and Berkshire Health Systems are teaming up to fill a void created when a small pharmacy near the campus shut down. The two institutions are opening their own pharmacy, complete with a machine that can dispense some drugs after hours. (Berkshire Eagle) A Berkshire Eagle editorial likes the concept and thinks it could be replicated elsewhere.
The MetroWest Medical Center plans to shut down nearly all services at the Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick. (MassLive)
Eastham is collaborating with the Cape Cod National Seashore to relocate a portion of Nauset Light Beach Road to better protect it from shoreline erosion. (Cape Cod Times)
The state’s once hot clean energy sector is cooling, with a rate of job growth now slightly lower than the overall state average. (Boston Globe)
MGM has replaced the president of its Springfield casino, Mike Mathis, less than a week after release of December numbers showed the casino had its worst-performing month since its first full month of operation in September 2018. (Boston Globe)
Snoop Dogg visits Caroline’s Cannabis shop in Uxbridge. (MetroWest Daily News)
A student who is legally blind is suing Curry College in Milton for not allowing her guide dog by her side during lab classes, and because the animal was locked in a closet where buckets of animal organs in formaldehyde were stored during one of those classes. (Patriot Ledger)MEDIA
Local radio stations, like local newspapers, are under siege, says media critic Dan Kennedy (Media Nation)