Companies moving back downtown?

by MooshiMooshi

Are companies really moving back downtown?

The Washington Post is reporting that after years of corporate headquarters moving to the suburbs, the reverse is now happening.

As companies relocate to big cities, suburban towns are left scrambling

And of course, this means that opportunities for well paid jobs become even more concentrated in an handful of big cities.

I think there is another interesting quote, somewhat buried in the article.

… Years ago, IT operations were an afterthought. Now, people with such expertise are driving top-level corporate decisions, and many of them prefer urban locales.

“It used to be the IT division was in a back office somewhere,” Emanuel said. “The IT division and software, computer and data mining, et cetera, is now next to the CEO. Otherwise, that company is gone.

Perhaps this is why the current tech bubble feels less bubbley to me.
Do you notice either of these trends?

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119 thoughts on “Companies moving back downtown?

  1. Building in our downtown is crazy. Both office space and living space. I see more younger people downtown, but even young people with kids. In my city it is going to force issues about school locations in the next few years if they stay where they are.

  2. There is a lot of construction downtown but the rents and parking have also become tighter. There are also apartments and condos being built close to the city center.
    That said, our whole area is urban suburban so if the employers feel that the rents are increasing too much in the city center they move a few miles to a cheaper “nodal area”. Nodal areas are ones which have hotels, restaurants, shopping, stores and buildings with office space like mini downtowns.
    Big employers have employees traveling or working from home so though the offices may move, many employees are moving at all. Also, here employees are not keen to commute long distances so if they can they’ll find another job or ask to work from home more days a week.

  3. I was in NYC the other day and everywhere you look there were cranes with another tower under construction. The city is booming like it hasn’t boomed since the 19th century. Same for SF.

    Maybe this should go under the political tab but I’ll raise my point and you can tell me to go elsewhere.

    There has always been tension between the coastal/urban elite and rural areas. Back in the 70’s during the the era of “the Bronx is burning” and “Ford to NYC – Drop Dead.” Those in rural areas could take comfort in their values and their security. However, the techno/economic pendulum has swung and many of those rust belt and rural areas are in as steep decline as NYC was in the 70s. This has resulted in a lot of people becoming resentful and eager to blame others (China, illegals, etc) on the decline in their way of life.

  4. In Seattle, Weyerhauser (a big timber company) moved its headquarters from about 25 miles south of the city (big suburban campus) to the heart of downtown Seattle. I heard that younger employees really hated having to commute to the suburbs and that was one of the reasons for the move. Lots of newer tech companies taking up office space in downtown as well (not to mention Amazon) – but the move of one of the longtime local powerhouses from the suburbs to downtown was a big deal.

  5. When we visited Seattle this spring, I was amazed at all the buildings going up. I lived there as a teen, but it is a lot denser now

  6. I’m curious how this trend ties into family formation and the increase I perceive in professionals who choose not to have children. My cousin is a third level human resources manager for a Fortune 200 firm (and single and childless) and the travel and flexibility demands on people in large corporations increase as corporations become more global. I am curious if more of the people who stay at corporate headquarters choose to be childless, whether partnered or not, and the first-line workers tend to remain in or transfer to outpost locations. The reduction in discrimination against gay/lesbian people means that either more of them are in high-level positions or more people in high-level positions are willing to be identified as gay/lesbian.

  7. DH said that one of the big hedge funds is moving back into NYC from Greenwich, and the Globe just moved back to downtown from Dorchester. I miss the cheap parking that I used to have – more reason not to go into the office very often! When I take the train, it is just slightly more expensive than driving if you count gas $$.

  8. I would be interested to see whether remote work is a factor. If workers only need to come into the office a few times a month, they won’t care so much where the office located. If the company needs many fewer square feet for HQ, downtown rents don’t seem so high. And in Boston at least, there are three or four zones for suburban or exurban living. If you are a company located in one of those, you lose out on workers in one or two of the others

  9. There are several business hubs in Houston, one of them being downtown. I, too, see a migration of younger people to downtown/midtown. That said, if you want an affordable house with a good school, you have to live in the burbs. This flight to cities by big companies is forcing longer commutes by the middle class.

  10. Anecdotally, this is happening here too. McDonald’s, Motorola, SC Johnson Wax, Jim Beam, and Mars (division HQ) are a few big local HQ that have moved or are in the process of moving to the city after being in the burbs for a long time. I know that there are more – Caterpillar is moving from downstate to Chicago – which is a much bigger move if you are talking about urban/rural tensions.

    Personally, it is great for me. I did a reverse commute for many years, and it was soul sucking. I would love to never have to commute out again, and I plan to stay in the city long-term. Also, our neighborhood proper is a big part of this boom – so I really hope it is not a bubble because it is great for my property values and the selection of restaurants, stores, etc.

  11. Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans, etc) has valiantly led the resurgence/revitalization of downtown Detroit by moving his HQ there. Many have followed and the place is unrecognizable now compared to 5 years ago. It has gone from a place to avoid to the place to be. Truly extraordinary and Gilbert is deservedly a local hero because of this.

  12. I guess the pendulum always swings, though I can’t necessarily say I understand why it seems to be swinging in this direction, or to what degree it actually is vs. just seeming like it from a few high-profile ones.

    My own anecdote is that I have heard about a potential big deal involving a new facility, and it seems that one of the big issues that has already knocked out a few locations is the availability and quality of the workforce. Not government giveaways; not whether the area is unionized or not — whether they will be able to find and hire the people they need from the local area. So I think this may be a big component of this apparent trend — it’s not just going where the workforce wants to live to be attractive to them, it’s going where there is already a high concentration of your target workers so you can find the people with the credentials you need to run your plant. And as more and more of those jobs require some version of specialized training or education, that means more populated areas where the college-educated crowd tends to congregate, so the smaller towns and rural areas tend to lose out, unless they happen to have something like a major university there.
    And this is a big shift from 10-20 years ago, when it was all about the government incentives and the cost of the workforce.

    I also think that the prevalence of the kind of work involved, and our modern logistics, enables this shift. Through most of human history, jobs were located where the natural resources existed to support them. Not just things like coal mines where the coal was, but textile manufacturing on the rivers where there was a power source to run them, or — per the story — farm equipment manufacturers where the farmers were, or refineries where there were ports to bring in the crude, etc. But it seems like our economy is moving away from that location-focused type of work — that is still there, of course, but so much of the work now is either intellectual (e.g., investment firms) or more broadly-applicable across the country and easily supported through our much-improved logistics (just think of yesterday’s discussion as an example), or both (how much growth is there in cell towers and data centers to support our ever-growing supply of bandwidth?). So if you are running one of those kinds of firms, you can put your HQ anywhere; you are not tied to a specific location because of what you need to manufacture your goods or where your customers are, and the transportation costs are so relatively low now that for many goods, there isn’t much of an advantage to being local to any particular customer base.

    I think maybe one thing that gets lost in these discussions is the history of why certain towns developed — we seem to assume that all of these towns sort of sprang up because that’s where people wanted to be, and therefore they should have the right to continue to exist, and there’s something wrong when businesses move away. But in reality, those towns grew up because there was some resource there that allowed people to support themselves — maybe it was on the Erie Canal or a railroad line, or maybe it had a stream for a mill, or maybe it was at the crossroads of two big trading routes, or whatever. But when those resources are no longer important to the modern economy, what is there to attract people and businesses to that specific location? Maybe if you’re in CA, the answer is “awesome weather” — but most people need to support themselves, and so they’re going to go where the current jobs are. So what’s the enticement to bring the jobs there once that prior resource no longer matters.

    What is interesting to me is that I also remember 10+ years ago, the theory was that telecommuting would allow people to live and work anywhere, and so you’d see people spreading out into the exurbs, where they could get their 4500′ home and good schools for a cheap price while still making city wages, and their employers would drift toward similar remote + cheap office parks. But the reality seems to be that, when you let young single people choose where they want to live, many of them want to go where there are a lot of other young single people and lots of things to do. And then the employers who need/want to attract those bright young things go where their target audience is.

    Of course, at some point, the pendulum will swing back. City property will become too expensive, or the workforce needs will change again, or those young employees will get married and have kids and start worrying about crime and schools and backyards, or or or or . . . .

  13. To sort of combine WCE and Rhett’s points – The more suburban and rural you are the more your family must conform to the “available” way of life, and the smaller you get in size, the less variety there is in what is “available”. Whether it is child care, health care, business (other than Walmart) hours, or social activities, it takes a critical mass of people who want/need something before it becomes cost effective to provide it.

    Plus, what people value drives what they tolerate in what isn’t available.

  14. Hit send too soon. I think if young couples stay in the “city”, they will create demand for either better public schools in the area or privates to fill the gap.

  15. I can’t necessarily say I understand why it seems to be swinging in this direction

    What do you have trouble understanding?

    LfB & WCE,

    Here is my pet theory. Since the 1950s, even with women entering the workforce, we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of time parents spend interacting with their children. You might say how is that possible vs. the days of the stay at home mom? Well, if you look at the time use data, you find that for the most part, the kids went to school and roamed the neighborhood and the moms cooked and cleaned and watch their stories and hung out with the other moms. The dads were working or at the golf course, bowling league, elks club, etc. In such a world the appeal of a wide open space for the kids to roam is appealing.

    These days kids are constantly supervised as they shuttle between various activities always under the watchful eye of an adult. In such a world, having a neighborhood or back yard to play in is a lot less appealing.

  16. My DH works for one of those large hedge funds in Greenwich. They are in a very suburban part of Greenwich, far from a train line, and it has been a problem for them for years. They have talked about moving to NYC, but I think there is some reason all the hedge funds are in CT – maybe some regulatory thing? Anyway, they are moving in another year, but to downtown Greenwich near the train station, not to NYC. They feel that will be accessible enough to workers from the city while still allowing the high level execs who all live in fancy parts of Fairfield County to keep their easy commutes

  17. “those young employees will get married and have kids and start worrying about crime and schools and backyards, ”

    I don’t know about that – or at least, while I think that happens, I don’t think it matters because the companies in this trend will still need to replace those young employees with new young employees as they progress. Companies, by design, generally need more young, junior people than senior people. I see much more – couple gets married, moves to the burbs, has kids, and at that point one person in the couple has moved up to a more senior job, so the other person stays home and/or dials way back because dealing with a long commute for both parents is really difficult. But that’s anecdotal as well. I’m curious if the # of families/schoolchildren in urban areas are really going up as well. It feels like it – especially with the boom in private schools going up around me. But I don’t know if it’s real or just a very local thing.

  18. “‘I can’t necessarily say I understand why it seems to be swinging in this direction’

    What do you have trouble understanding?”

    What I meant is that I’m not an economist, and so there might be a bunch of other factors that I am not aware of, or maybe the whole thing is a temporary blip, etc. It seems to me like it’s happening, and my little window into that suggests that it’s do to the grown in the tech sector in particular and the concomitant demand for skilled workers, but IDK.

    The yard/neighborhood thing is interesting. I’d also say it has to do with the two-earner lifestyle more generally — if you have two people commuting an hour each way into the city, it’s going to be a lot more tempting to just move downtown than if you have one at home to manage the home/yard/kids. And then those two worker parents also want nearby restaurants for takeout/quick dinners, because they have more money than time and aren’t that interested in cooking; and then they want entertainment on the weekend; and all of that is easier to come by in a city.

    And then of course the trend reinforces as more companies move into the city. When I lived outside DC, it would have made no sense to live in the city proper, because my job was downtown and DH’s was in Gaithersburg. So we lived in Rockville, which was in-between and offered a combination of a reasonable commute for both and affordable housing. But that was the era of the suburban office parks — *any* two jobs would have left at least one of us with a long commute, so there was no way to find one single location where we could have been close to both jobs. OTOH, if all of those jobs move into the city, then hell yeah we’d have lived downtown just to make life easier — worst-case scenario if the schools suck, well, we have two incomes and can pay for private.

  19. For a contrary view:

    “Here’s the usual media narrative: Millennials prefer cities to suburbs. They love renting lofts and disdain single-family homes; they ride the subway (or take an Uber) because they barely know how to drive. Where their parents wanted green lawns and cul-de-sacs, today’s young Americans want walkable neighborhoods and local bars with plenty of craft beers on draft.

    The numbers tell a different story. Whether by choice or economic circumstance, young Americans are still more likely to leave the city for the suburbs than the other way around.

    According to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week, 529,000 Americans ages 25 to 29 moved from cities out to the suburbs in 2014; only 426,000 moved in the other direction. Among younger millennials, those in their early 20s, the trend was even starker: 721,000 moved out of the city, compared with 554,000 who moved in.1 Somewhat more people in both age groups currently live in the suburbs than in the city.”

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/think-millennials-prefer-the-city-think-again/

    Thinking of our two young adult kids, single DS fits the narrative completely. Married DS moved from the trendy urban area to a small city suburb after they had kids. Their friends are following similar paths — they start out as singles in places like Arlington and Lakeview but tend to start moving into suburbia when they have kids approaching school age.

    In our small rust belt city, boosters are trying to “revive” the moribund downtown area with lofts and other rental housing aimed at millennials. But the target demographic group is a small and shifting one. Recent college grads, affluent professional/grad students, faculty or medical personnel on short-term assignments. Families with kids are still choosing to live in single family homes with yards — around here, they can be had for well under $200K.

  20. Hedge funds in CT. Isn’t it because they wanted to avoid NYC taxes and they don’t need a Manhattan lifestyle but would rather splash out on McMansions, club memberships, boating etc. in CT?

    I have had Petula Clark’s song “Downtown” in my head all day because of this post.

  21. Thinking of our two young adult kids, single DS fits the narrative completely. Married DS moved from the trendy urban area to a small city suburb after they had kids. Their friends are following similar paths

    But I think I recall you mentioning that they are modestly compensated. In terms of SES the data shows that affluent folks of all ages are increasingly preferring more urban areas and the less affluent are remaining in the suburbs.

  22. ” OTOH, if all of those jobs move into the city, then hell yeah we’d have lived downtown just to make life easier — worst-case scenario if the schools suck, well, we have two incomes and can pay for private.”

    But that brings the other point made above – you wouldn’t be alone in this thinking. So rents would go up, privates would have more applicants or charge more, and your two income lifestyle wouldn’t be as flexible. I’m not sure you’d be able to afford that private school on 2 incomes without a significant sacrifice because your housing costs probably would have gone up because of demand.

    I see a lot of construction in Providence, but also a lot of vacant buildings. I think it may just be easier to build new than renovate. But with space at a premium, and the right location at an even greater premium, renovation may be more economical soon. I’d be happy if they shuttled the “attract more businesses” money into the “fix the damn road and bridges so they don’t collapse” fund first…

  23. Which brings up another factor. Age of first birth. If it’s 1972 and you’re having your first kid at 21 then private at 26 when your HHI is an (inflation adjusted) $85k may not be feasible. But, if you have your first kid at 35 and you’re making $285k at 40 then private is a lot more doable.

  24. Rhode,

    You’re invoking the Yogi Berra, “No one goes there anymore it’s too crowded” fallacy. If prices are rising it means either supply is shrinking or demand is rising. If supply is increasing and prices still rise it means demand for that lifestyle is very high.

  25. “If prices are rising it means either supply is shrinking or demand is rising. If supply is increasing and prices still rise it means demand for that lifestyle is very high.”

    The assumption there is that supply will rise concurrent with HQs moving in. Supply will rise AFTER HQs move in because demand will rise first. That first flush of people working at the HQ will cause the demand to rise, and by the time new housing is opened, most of the folks who couldn’t get a place have already settled elsewhere. Theoretically, turnover won’t be fast, so now a city may have an oversupply of housing. Prices will drop, but will new folks move in?

    I thought about PVD when I wrote my statement. Quality housing near downtown is at a premium. Moving away from the downtown core, prices get cheaper, but for those same prices, one can move 1-2 towns away and get more. Commute times would be relatively the same because public transportation stinks in PVD. A different city may have solved this problem.

  26. Here in the NYC metro area, the inner train burbs are frantically building urban style housing by their trains stations to attract those very same young workers, because they have already been priced out of Manhattan. Our inner train burbs offer an “urban village” feel, and the commutes to Manhattan are often shorter than from Queens or Brooklyn. So when a 20-something moves from Manhattan to Tuckahoe, does that actually count as a move from an urban area to a suburb? Because in many ways, it doesn’t feel like it should. It is more like moving to Queens.

  27. Rhode,

    Supply doesn’t have to rise. With gentrification you have affluent folks moving in and the poor, working and middle class moving to the burbs.

  28. “and the poor, working and middle class moving to the burbs.”

    I was assuming those folks stayed put or more folks moving in than out. So fair point. But why are the poor, working and middle class moving out? Is it prices? It doesn’t sound like jobs are the reason.

    To MM’s thought – what are we defining as urban or suburban here? A yard? How big?

  29. But why are the poor, working and middle class moving out?

    Increases in rent, price of food, etc. Mostly rent. Could also be culture.

  30. “In terms of SES the data shows that affluent folks of all ages are increasingly preferring more urban areas and the less affluent are remaining in the suburbs.”

    Does it really? Sure, some Totebag types are choosing to live in more dense, walkable urban areas. But I’m not convinced that they are anywhere near the majority. Just based on my own small sets of data points, my sense is that most of that SES cohort — at least, the non-retired ones with school-age kids — are still opting for the suburbs. We spent a lot of time roaming around the Ballston part of Arlington when DS lived there, and hardly ever saw families with older kids out and about. The same is true of Lakeview in Chicago, where DS2 lives now. The parish he attends is filled with young college grads and older empty nesters, but children of any age in the pews are rare.

  31. “what are we defining as urban or suburban here? A yard? How big?”

    From the Fivethirtyeight piece:

    “The Census Bureau’s definition of the suburbs is broad, covering anywhere that’s inside a metropolitan area but outside a principal city. So the latest data doesn’t distinguish between classic picket-fence suburbs and the kind of faux-urban, walkable suburban developments that have become more common in recent years.

    But a survey released earlier this year found that most millennials still want a traditional suburban experience, complete with big single-family homes. The American Community Survey, which provides a more granular look than the data released this week, tells much the same story, said Jed Kolko, chief economist of the real estate site Trulia.

    “The fastest population growth right now is in the lowest-density neighborhoods, the suburb-iest suburbs,” Kolko said.”

  32. Scarlett,

    The question isn’t what most are doing, the question is the relative change over time. What % at what income level moved to the suburbs c. 1977, 97 or 2017?

    children of any age in the pews are rare.

    Children in the pews are rare anywhere, why do you think there is a massive wave of parish consolidation?

  33. Here there are lots of “luxury” apartment buildings coming up which means clubhouse, pool near to restaurants, shops etc. Lots of these are populated by both millennials and seniors. The people with kids prefer houses. We have a mix of housing so unless you want a really big lot or want a rural location (and longer commute) you can still live in the same area you did as a young single.

  34. The new luxury developments near the Westchester train stations largely are not set up to accomodate children by design. The towns did not want an influx of kids coming in.

  35. Scarlett – if you had roamed the area a little closer in on the orange line near Clarendon, you would have seen tons of kids. Lyon Village and Lyon Park are crawling with kids. Ballston and Roslyn are so much more concrete jungle-like. The areas in between are better for families.

  36. In Atlanta it seems like all of the financial/legal/real estate stuff is moving to Buckhead or Midtown but the big companies are in the suburbs (UPS, Home Depot, Delta). Plus the Braves just moved to the suburbs so I think there is a lot of stuff going in around there. There was a mini resurgence downtown over the past few years but it’s still not really a cool address, although certainly Coca-Cola is probably staying downtown. Dh’s firm is just north of downtown and the only reason they stay in the building is because the landlord keeps offering them ridiculously good deals every time their lease is up. I guess my area is technically city (address wise) but in spirit it’s the suburbs and I think a lot of the southern cities have the same set up.

  37. I’m not seeing a huge trend of companies moving to either downtown here, but I’m seeing a trend in more families staying within the city limits to raise their families. I think the true downtown area of Minneapolis is the most city-like with lofts and apartments, but it is a pretty small area. It seems mostly to be recent college grads/young professionals and empty nesters. I have a Facebook friend from high school who lives in a condo downtown with the kid, and I was surprised as it still seems pretty rare to live downtown with kids.

    The rest of the city’s neighborhoods are what I picture Mooshi living in. If we were living outside Manhattan, you’d call where I live a suburb, but here it is definitely living in the city. Minneapolis has about 400,000 residents and the metro area is over 3 million. In the comments of the local paper, there is a lot of suburb vs. city hatred. A lot of the people in the suburbs think the entire city is awful and crime-ridden and think there are no nice areas of town. UMC, college-educated families that are staying are primarily liberal/progressive and are living in the nicer areas of town. I can tell families are staying based on school popularity and the improvement of certain elementary schools as there is more active engagement. This is driving up the costs of housing and rents and pushing people out into first ring suburbs. We’ve been here for 15+ years and our neighborhood has really gentrified from restaurants to bakeries to shopping. Our mainline church has tons of young kids and families – largest demographic is under 10. But our city is very segregated and the crime is pretty localized to certain areas, so the gentrification is concentrated in core areas but is expanding out as housing prices continue to increase.

    My siblings all live in the suburbs and exurbs and don’t understand how we can live in our tiny house with a tiny backyard. DH and I don’t understand how they’d want a long commute and giant yards to take care of. I think my siblings are in the majority in what people prefer, but there is definitely an increase of younger people/families staying put to raise their kids.

  38. I just looked up the city of Atlanta population and it’s roughly 475,000 people and it was 457,000 when we moved here 14 years ago so a pretty small increase in that time period. The metro population seems to have increased by 1.5 million people over the same time period.

  39. Big employers have to manage space more aggressively. So, they make make “no work from home” policies or track how many of their employees actually come in. If they don’t come in, they get rid of empty cube space and just have enough space for those that come in.

    Chicago is interesting. My relatives moved to the city a while ago. First the sole income earner had a city job and didn’t like a long commute. Then one kid went to private school in the city. Once that happened it made no sense to commute to a home in suburbs. However their life in the city still resembles my urban suburban experience because they still have to get in their car and drive everywhere, hardly anything is walking distance.

  40. ” The same is true of Lakeview in Chicago, where DS2 lives now. ”

    Scarlett – I agree with your point. I think the majority of couples starting families still want to move to the suburbs and have a yard/basement and more square footage. Also a neighborhood school that they don’t have to think about. There is also still another large exodus point when the first kid hits Kindergarten even for those who thought that they would give having kids in the city a go.

    But as far as Lakeview goes – that particular neighborhood is very post-college with lots of big rental buildings and bro-ey bars. From my anecdotal evidence (including a data point of myself), people tend to move to other city neighborhoods even if they want to stay in the city with kids. (e.g., the neighborhoods just West and NW of Lakeview like Roscoe Village, North Center, Ravenswood and Lincoln Square which also have decent neighborhood elementary schools) People tend to move out of there when they hit 30 whether they are married/have kids or not, and then the next wave of Big 10 grads moves in and takes their place. I have seen this pattern repeat over & over again over the past 20 years.

  41. An example of what’s going on in Boston:

    In the Fort Point/South Boston area (tract 612), home prices rose 89 percent, the population just about doubled, and the percentage of adults with bachelors degrees increased from around 30 percent to 70 percent.

  42. ” However their life in the city still resembles my urban suburban experience because they still have to get in their car and drive everywhere, hardly anything is walking distance.”

    Yeah, there are some neighborhoods like that. I can’t say that I see the appeal, personally. Where DH grew up was pretty removed from public transit and suburban in feel, but private school was still necessary, and the walkability (and bikeability) was low. At that point, I’d rather live in a truly walkable inner ring suburb with easy train access. (and that is what we considered at one point vs. that neighborhood)

    From an employer perspective, we are moving to hoteling across the globe in a lot of cases to put occupancy over 100% (fewer seats than people). It sounds awful, and I hope I will be spared for awhile. We just moved to an open plan recently. (I have an office…..with glass walls.) I prefer not to work from home, but I would change my mind if forced into hoteling.

  43. Louise,

    The Back Bay is undergoing aristocratization:

    http://www.theonion.com/article/report-nations-gentrified-neighborhoods-threatened-2419

    It’s pretty much a real thing as back in the 50s to 80s the great townhouses of Bramin Aristocracy were converted into apartments and condos. Now those condos are being bought up and merged back into single family homes. This is not by any means the most grand – it’s not even on Comm Ave:

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/197-Marlborough-St_Boston_MA_02116_M42104-12154#photo0

  44. Rhett – the conversion to single family homes began a while ago. It gradually expanded from outwards. I remember walking past homes with private walled gardens on Beacon Hill. The garages were hidden but they were there.

  45. Well, on a personal level companies moving into the city could be good for me because I live in a suburban village with easy access into the city. I’ve been told I have the best of both worlds. Anecdotally, one 20-something relative has had it with living in the city and is looking with some longing at the suburbs as she contemplates marriage and kids in her future.

    Kerri, still hate your office? Have your co-workers become used to it?

  46. “Kerri, still hate your office? Have your co-workers become used to it?”

    Let me put it this way, since we don’t have much say in the matter and open plan is the trend in our industry, we’ve adjusted. I don’t think anyone prefers open plan but what the point of griping?

    Anecdotally I have noticed more people getting sick since we’ve moved to open plan, myself included. Just getting over a head cold now.

  47. “Also a neighborhood school that they don’t have to think about.”

    This is huge, IMO. Most people, even well-educated professionals, like having an acceptable “default” school option nearby, with transportation and local classmates. Even if they end up deciding that a private or charter school is a better choice down the road. We have affluent professional friends in Chicago who moved from one brand new townhouse to another after their second child was born, and trying to make the public school work for their older kid was an enormous hassle.

  48. “Children in the pews are rare anywhere”

    Not at many suburban Catholic parishes. Like the one near our house. Packed with kids and teenagers.

  49. “Lyon Village and Lyon Park are crawling with kids.”

    Because those neighborhoods are mostly SFH. We lived on the Orange Line when all of our kids were born, near the East Falls Church stop. (Those tiny homes are now $800K+, amazingly.) But the new multi-family units, highrise or otherwise, are not attracting many families with school-age kids, even though Rhett is right that they actually make sense for many two-career professional families with DC jobs.

  50. There’s a fair amount of fuss about the high-speed train in California. The newest idea is that rather than truly connecting San Francisco to L.A., it’ll just allow people to live in Fresno and commute to San Jose. If you haven’t been following the drama about the high speed train, I would advise not starting now.

    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/general-news/20170723/will-san-jose-to-fresno-bullet-train-become-the-silicon-valley-express?source=most_viewed

  51. “Ivy – be grateful for your glass walls. Trust me.”

    Oh, I am. I saw what they did to the hoteling floors, and I started mentally updating my resume! The cubby space for your “personal items” (which includes things like printed documents) is the size of a small desk drawer. UGH.

  52. RMS,

    It seems like a great solution. You keep the greens happy, the folks in Palo Alto don’t have to allow denser housing, you reduce home prices and considering they spent $20 billion widening and burying the central artery in Boston, the price seems reasonable.

  53. Rhett,

    Parish consolidation is largely a northeast/midwest urban issue. But that kind of supports my point, in that the families with kids — who built those parishes BITD — have moved to the suburbs and other parts of the country.

    Pittsburgh, for example, has closed or consolidated dozens of inner-city parishes, but the suburban parish we attended spawned two new parishes over the past 30 years as housing developments went up in exurban communities that used to be part of our parish boundaries. During the time we lived in DC, several brand-new parishes were started in the outer reaches of Fairfax County. Our parish here in flyover country just opened a new church building because the “old” structure (built in 1991) was too small for the growing number of parishioners.

  54. Hello from Tokyo! Where the hour is not decent and everyone is awake! I’m trying to get the munchkins to walk like ninjas across the apartment floor. We’re in the suburbs where the neighbors certainly don’t appreciate my elephants.

  55. RMS – I think I read a story on the BBC about “hyper commuters” (or something like that) about people who fly between SF and LA for work/home. Has Elon Musk offered his “hyperloop” idea in CA? He did to the NYC metro area, where the Acela train already runs, and it’s cheaper to drive between NYC and DC than it is to take the train… (and it may be cheaper to drive than fly, depending on how you value your time).

  56. Rhode, it was brought up, but apparently isn’t going anywhere soon.

    Musk’s SF-to-LA Plan Looks like a No-Go

    While Musk’s original idea suggested the hyperloop would take passengers between California’s two major urban areas, the folks at Hyperloop One have other ideas. The SF-LA proposal presented a lot of challenges, starting with the fact that a second transportation mode would be needed to get passengers from the edges of those cities, where the tube would end, and into the downtown areas. So the company is focusing instead on planning routes outside the US and has published its first detailed business case for a 300-mile route between Helsinki and Stockholm. That one would tunnel under the Baltic Sea to connect the two capitals in under 30 minutes.

    That’s partly why I rarely take public transit “over the hill” (as we say about getting from Silicon Valley to Santa Cruz). I can easily get to the Diridon station in San Jose, but then I’ve got to get from the Diridon station to wherever, and while that’s doable, it’s not quick or easy.

  57. Elon Musk reminds me of the Bobby Kennedy quote, “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

  58. And speaking of people having a good idea:

    Taco Bell has, quite literally, found a new marketing vehicle, and its name is Lyft.

    The fast-food chain is beginning a venture with the ride-sharing company this week that will allow Lyft passengers to request rides that incorporate a stop at a Taco Bell drive-through between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

    The companies will test the option, which will appear as “Taco Mode” in the Lyft app, during the next two weeks around a Newport Beach, Calif., location, with plans to expand the program nationally next year.

  59. Parish consolidation is a thing all over the Northeast, including the suburbs and exurbs. If you look at the list of parishes closing in the Hartford Archdiocese, you will see that virtually all are suburban/small town: Naugatuck, Hamden, Granby, Enfield, Manchester, Wethersfield, etc.

  60. And here is the merger list. The only real cities on this list are Hartford and New Haven (well, those are really the only cities in CT)

    Branford, Bristol, Broad Brook-East Windsor, Canaan-Lakeville-Norfolk, Cheshire, Derby, East Hartford, East Haven, Enfield, Glastonbury, Granby, Hamden, Hartford, Harwington-New Hartford, Kensington-East Berlin, Litchfield-Goshen-Bantam, Manchester, Meriden-Wallingford, Milford, Naugatuck, New Britain, New Haven, Newington, North Branford, North Haven, Rocky Hill, Seymour, Sharon-Cornwall Bridge-Kenth, South Windsor, Suffield, Thomaston-Terryville, Torrington, Washington Depot-Roxbury, Waterbury, West Hartford, West Haven, Wethersfield, Windsor, Windsor Locks, Wolcott, and Woodbury-Bethlehem.

  61. But according to the article I posted “The share of all Catholics who say they attend Mass at least once a week has dropped from 47% in 1974 to 24% in 2012”

    That has got to have an effect on the viability of churches. I know that Catholic K12 schools are closing too. This is something I know very well because those schools are the feeders for my university, and it is having a real impact. We are moving away from the Catholic school market because of this.

  62. Scarlett,

    Are you trying to argue that mass attendance hasn’t plunged over the past 50 years?

  63. Because I grew up in an area with Catholics of Irish and Italian heritage, I notice that the culture of Hispanic Catholics is different, Hispanic Catholics don’t choose Catholic schools, at least in my area.

  64. ADA,

    I can’t wait to hear all about your trip! How much of an issue have you found the language barrier to be?

  65. My understanding is that in 1960, there were over 5 million kids in Catholic schools whereas today it is slightly under 2 million.

  66. I would say though mass attendance overall has declined there is a fair amount of growth in the Catholic population here, migration from
    the Northeast and Mid Atlantic states including a large Hispanic community. A new Catholic high school opened to cater to the population in the north of the city.
    I know the contrast between the closing and decking parishes of the Northeast and the vibrant community over here.

  67. “Hispanic Catholics don’t choose Catholic schools, at least in my area.”

    Are there schools that are attempting to recruit that population? There are some in the city that have converted to be more bilingual, and they have resisted closing by building enrollment that way. Our local parish has services in Spanish and also bilingual services. The Spanish service is much more heavily attended than the English one, and that is not because the neighborhood is heavily Hispanic. (it’s about 15% with a heavily Hispanic neighborhood nearby with churches that have given up the English mass)

  68. Rhett I know that fewer Catholics attend Mass. Also the Catholic school population has been dropping ever since parish schools starting charging tuition.
    But my point is that Catholic parish closing and consolidation is largely a geographical matter. Cities like Boston and Chicago and Pittsburgh have two many crumbling facilities in neighborhoods that have lost population and can no longer support them. But at the same time, there are new and expanding parishes in other parts of the country.

  69. Ivy, the local Catholic school closed a year or so ago. To my knowledge, it did not recruit much, whether Hispanic Catholics or any other ethnicity. I don’t know about Catholic schools in larger cities.

  70. “There are some in the city that have converted to be more bilingual”

    What is odd is that traditionally, Catholic schools were often bilingual. They were bastions of immigrant culture. My FIL started at a French speaking Catholic school. There were also schools in that area that catered to Polish kids. Different churches served the different groups – there was a Polish church in town with Polish services, and a French church. Sometime in the 60’s or so, that started dying out.

  71. Muslims have definitely been one of our growth areas, and this appears to be true at many Catholic universities. There are girls in hijab all over campus. The guys are not as visible but when I see my class roster, I see many Muslim names. Perhaps this could be a growth market for Catholic K12 schools too?

  72. One other thing – this article talks about overseas Muslims, but our Muslim students are largely local.

  73. Why don’t Muslims start their own universities in the US?

    Catholic elementary schools in the inner cities often serve non-Catholic students. At many of those schools, Catholic students are actually in the minority.

  74. I suspect there would be way too much pushback if Muslims tried to set up a Muslim college in the US. There are Muslim K12’s in NYC, but I think they get pushback too. And there aren’t the numbers – there were a lot more Catholics in the US, because of the huge numbers of Catholic immigrants, when the universities were set up.

  75. Here Hispanic parents who can afford to do enroll their kids in Catholic school. What it does is give kids the cultural know how that the David Brooks article refers to. This option is cheaper than independent private school.
    In one generation you are transformed from an outsider to an insider.

  76. Okay, I have to vent. My daughter got a new car today, and she is on my toll road eztag, so I was calling to add her new car. Our county is annoying in that there is more than one agency that owns the various toll roads, but the one tag is supposed to work on all highways. When I called the 2nd one to add her car, they said I had a balance I needed to take care of, and it was 528. I interpreted that to be $5.28, so asked if it was from yesterday and today. She explained that it was $528. WTF?!? When I asked for the details, it turns out at the end of May, one of the scanners failed to read our tag, so it did not get the $1.13 tag. So they are charging the $1.13, plus a $5 violation fee. And since I didn’t respond to their letter (which I have never seen!!), they sent it to collections and fees now make it $550. (It was $528 when the conversation started, so what the hell is going on?) This violation was not even 60 days ago, so how many statements could I have received in this time window? The girl kept saying “there’s nothing I can do to help” and told me I had to call the collections people.

    I called them, sat on hold for 20 minutes before it shunted me to a voicemail, which then gave me a message that the mailbox was full. But (tying into the open concept topic) now all of my colleagues within a 50 ft radius know I have an account in collections, so that’s pretty cool. So then I googled the collection agency – they have multiple BBB complaints and tons of comments about the full voice mailbox, so this is a permanent issue. You just cannot get a live human.

    So – I went back to the website of the agency I actually have the eztag pass with, and on the front page of their website is a statement that there was a software problem at some locations that caused some tags to not be read correctly in May, and they will help get the toll and fines cleared up if you send in some info. So that first lady I talked to KNEW it was a problem, and still talked to me as if she thought any sane person would pay $550 for a $1.13 toll. The meaning of Rhett’s term “stabby” was so crystal clear to me.

    And back to my continuing soapbox – how the hell do people who work at Macy’s, or Walmart, or a mfg line deal with crap like this that requires you to talk to a live human, between the hours of 8-5, and requires you to sit on hold for more than 1/2 hr? This is nuts. I’m having wine, before some poor family member receives my residual rage.

  77. Greetings from Bar Harbor! I love it here. Not only did we escape to the Downeast Maine Coast; we escaped to early November, or so it seems. I knew we wouldn’t have air conditioning in bayfront cabin, and when we arrived it was very comfortable with the quaint little box fans in the window, and I thought “this is certainly tolerable. I probably won’t even miss A/C.”

    Then it turned downright cold, and the next day we closed the windows and turned on the propane heater. It’s a rustic, uninsulated cabin, but somehow also renovated, and I think I finally understand the term “camp” for these places. It’s not suitable for winter.

    I think we’ve seen all that there is to see if Acadia — what an amazing park. We’ve biked all the carriage roads, walked the shore path, waded into the 55-degree Atlantic at the “beach,” etc.

    We’ve shopped downtown, took a charter cruise along the coast, and we’ve eaten way too much.

    I kind of want to live here. For a couple months of the year, at least, and not all of them in the summer.

    My parents like it a lot better than Nantucket. Middle-class families and retirees vacation in better harmony with a few of the ultra-rich, and it’s much less showy, but still with some interesting shops. It’s friendlier and not so conforming.

  78. Milo – did you have popovers at the Jordan Pond house and go hike the trail around the pond? :)

  79. We went on a bike trip to Acadia one August and never wore our shorts.
    Did you get to ride up to the top of Cadillac Mountain?

  80. Louise said “What it does is give kids the cultural know how that the David Brooks article refers to. This option is cheaper than independent private school.
    In one generation you are transformed from an outsider to an insider.”

    Really? That doesn’t seem to hold for the 50% of our students who come from Catholic schools – they are as much outsiders as the NYC public school kids. And it wasn’t true for my husband, who went to Catholic school until 8th grade. His school was very much aimed at sending out kids to the mills and factories of his town.

  81. Milo, when we went to Bar Harbor a few years ago (in Aug), not only was it really cold, but we had drenching, nonstop rain!!

  82. Yes, yes, yes. Biked to and from Jordan House on the carriage roads. Had popovers with lunch. Good lobster stew there.

    Drove to Cadillac Mountain peak. Kids wouldn’t like the 1200 foot elevation climb. Also saw it from the ocean this morning.

  83. We are heading to Brittany, where it appears that temps are in the 50’s and 60’s with that lovely Atlantic wind.

  84. Mooshi – there is less of a history here than there is in the Northeast. In some places diversity as an idea is implemented by the book but the feeling of actually being at home in a community is lacking.

  85. “In some places diversity as an idea is implemented by the book but the feeling of actually being at home in a community is lacking.”

    Not clear what you mean?

  86. “Our local parish has services in Spanish and also bilingual services. ”

    The parish I grew up in is in a real state of flux. It is located in what used to be the suburbs, and is now heavily Spanish, with one of the few remaining English masses about to be converted to Spanish mass. So the Saturday evening mass has an average age of around 82, and the Sunday morning masses are full of kids. All of the growth is coming from the newer families, but the overwhelming majority of the financial support of the parish comes from those who have been there for 45+ years and are feeling pushed out. In addition to some masses being converted to Spanish, the decor and iconography is being changed (physically altered, painted over, etc, rather than new items added), causing some hard feelings among the long term members. From speaking to my parents and their friends, I don’t think the tension has anything to do with the newer members being immigrants, but more that at 82, people are not big on change. I feel for the poor priest who is in the middle of the squabbling.

  87. But as far as Lakeview goes – that particular neighborhood is very post-college with lots of big rental buildings and bro-ey bars.

    I lived in Lakeview for about 7 years after college. I moved 20 years ago, but this was exactly it. It was twentysomethings, childless couples, and empty nesters. Very, very few families with children.

  88. Rhett– The language thing is a bit daunting, but I ‘m busy keeping my kids from being hit by bicycles (on the sidewalks, the horror!) and fed and watered and not screaming in quiet places and not running in no running places. So, I think 20 year old Ada had more trouble with feeling like an ugly American when she spoke to people in English. Much-older-than-20-Ada is pretty proud that we haven’t caused an international incident and realizes that it doesn’t really matter what anyone says (shop keepers, train personell, etc.) If they really want me to know, they’ll gesture. If something really important comes up, I’ll use Google translate. For reading signs (and labels), Waygo has been helpful so far. I hold my camera up to the text and it instantly translates. Amazing technology. Also, teaching my kids to smile and say, “Good Morning” to everyone in Japanese is earning us a lot of good will.

    We had to find a train yesterday on our way from the airport at a fairly small station. No information desk, and unclear which trains were on which tracks. The nice man who smiled and pointed at my son (who I swear could be a model for perfect golden American child) became my target. I stated the name of the station I wanted. He shrugged his shoulders, asked his companions, was apologetic, clearly had no English words. I smiled, walked away and decided to try something/someone else. He came and found me in a few minutes. He had found the answer for me. Pointed me at the platform. Used hand gestures to say that the 1654 train was his, the 1658 train was mine. Smiled and went on my way. I wouldn’t have even been pissed if he’d ruffled the blond kids’ hair at that point. So, #blondprivilege but the language barrier not so bad. It doesn’t hurt that (unlike Russian or Greek, for example), I can sound out most important words, as they are written in western letters (is that even the right term?).

  89. Louise said “Here Hispanic parents who can afford to do enroll their kids in Catholic school. What it does is give kids the cultural know how that the David Brooks article refers to. This option is cheaper than independent private school.
    In one generation you are transformed from an outsider to an insider.”

    That was mostly true for my Catholic school education. There we were taught a modified version of classical education, which I believe was historically linked with the Catholic schools in some parts of the country. We received a different education, arguably better at least for us, than that offered by the public schools. I don’t know how much of this continues today, but it was interesting for me to learn my old school still arranges desks in rows and the students still rise at the start of the day to greet their teacher. So some of the old traditions still hold.

  90. I have attended Saturday evening Masses at many parishes, especially on travel, and they are almost always dominated by older people. Even at our university parish. Younger people often have other activities and commitments at 5 on a Saturday.
    Now, the Sunday evening Mass is another story…..

  91. The Catholic schools: My kids attended pre k3 – 12, so that means we were part of the system from 1997-2017. On the (pre)k-6 front:
    (1) we always paid tuition. Not much, IME, but we played by their rules. Their pricing model was screwed up, again IME, since there were larger and larger discounts for each additional kid. I think kid if you had 4+ kids in the k-6 system the 4th one and any more went for $0.
    (2) the elementary they attended was first (to us) a diocesan school, then, more recently after our kids moved to middle school, changed to be a parish school.
    (3) All the head priests hated having a school connected to the parish because their parish’s “taxes” to the diocese were higher than those parishes which did not have schools. And they felt the parishoners whose kids went to the school didn’t contribute enough to the collection plate to offset the higher taxes.
    (4) Thru all this the suburban Catholic schools and parishes (see below) were flourishing and the urban ones were failing financially, sustained only by a big bequest, but that was starting to run out a while back. There has been some reduction in the suburban schools (I think the priests got their way on the tax issue) even though the really was enough demand and people would have paid more to keep the schools open and their kids attending.
    (5) Not really an issue yet for my kids’ 7-12 school. Jesuit, and not directly linked to the diocese in any way. Obviously Catholic elementaries are a key feeder to the 7-12, but the administration/admissions has broadened their marketing approach successfully so that school is actually increasing in enrollment.

    Net net: the diocesan school board (and ultimately the bishop) messed Catholic elementary education up around here. Enrollment would have eventually declined and closings/consolidations necessary but their lack of vision hastened the demise.

    Parishes: like others have mentioned there has been some consolidation in the diocese due to lower attendance rates, low (i.e. 0%) population growth, and many fewer priests. That last is an issue the Church needs to address as there are ready solutions. Our parish has 2 full time priests, 2 retired priests in residence. But we’re somewhat of an outlier because attendance and contributions remain about the highest in the metro area.

  92. There are also distinctions between types of Catholic schools. There are elite Catholic prep schools, especialy at the HS level, that compete with nonreligious elite private schools. I can think of several of those in this area. I would imagine they are doing fine for enrollment, especially in this area since we don’t have a lot of good private schools in general. But there are a lot of nonelite Catholic schools too and those are the ones that feed to my university and are the type my husband went to. I think parents choose them more for the peer group, and sometimes support for their ethnicity, then for academics. That was certainly the case for my husband’s parents. I think those are the Catholic schools that are struggling now for enrollment. One factor which is more of a recent factor is competition from charter schools. My understanding is that is a problem in many areas.

  93. Milo – we love Acadia. My family would move there if we could get jobs and decent housing where we wanted to be. It will forever remain our favorite vacation spot instead. We just went last October. My (then) 1.5 year old walked almost all of the Park Loop Road trail that runs from Thunder Hole out to Seal Cove. We didn’t make him walk (we had our carrier), he asked to walk.

    Catholic schools – I went from K-6 and then 9-12 (attached to different parishes). Both schools have now closed due to mismanagement (probably because the folks who ran the schools were really bleeding hearts and reduced tuition for one too many kids) and declining enrollment. My HS was *the* school of choice for the local immigrant Portuguese and Hispanic populations. English was truly the second language in the halls. The parishes that the schools were attached to are still thriving. My RI parish has a grade school, and we will keep it in mind when it’s time to look for prek-8 schools. There’s an independent Catholic HS in our city for boys. It’s produced some really awesome alumni and all parents I’ve met with boys in that school have raved about it. I’m hoping to be able to send the boys there.

    Becky – that’s horrible! Sounds like my conversation with BoA the other night. I’ve been a BoA customer for ~18 years and I really never had an issue with them and couldn’t understand people’s issues with them. Until the other night. They screwed up my credit card bill for the last 4 months, and I thought I had something paid in fill when I didn’t. Now I have 2 months to make it right or I get screwed again.

  94. On the issue of priest shortages, there *are* solutions. Lincoln, Nebraska seems to be doing some things right. Their statistics are impressive.

    “Despite having a Catholic population of only 97,000, the Lincoln diocese ordained 22 men from 2010-2012. Only seven diocese in the entire country ordained more. One of those, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (with a Catholic population over 4.2 million) ordained 34 men during those same three years. In other words, L.A. only ordained four more men per year on average despite having a population 44X greater than Lincoln.
    Bishop James Conley recently noted that, with this year’s class, the diocese will have ordained 17 men to the priesthood in a 24 month span of time; unheard of in this day and age.
    As of 2012 the diocese had a total of 150 priests serving 134 parishes.
    There is no permanent diaconate program in Lincoln. There are, however, installed acolytes and lectors constituted of lay men.
    There are also 33 Catholic schools, including 6 high schools. One of those high schools, St. Pius X, produced 18 of the 48 men enrolled at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in 2014.
    It’s also interesting to note that 96 percent of students attending diocesan schools are Catholic.
    Many of the schools are staffed by female religious, of which the Diocese of Lincoln boasts 141 sisters from 14 different orders. Many have priests teaching high school theology and often serving as principals as well.”

    https://liturgyguy.com/2016/04/30/why-arent-other-dioceses-looking-to-lincoln/

  95. Scarlett/Fred – we have a diocesan school model here and from what I can see it’s going well. There can be enrollment challenges in some years. Overall they seemed to have improved their marketing, so all the schools and the main web site has the same look and feel.

  96. Interesting stats and article Scarlett. Unfortunately I don’t think moving to a more conservative/male only communion will help my area. In fact, it would definitely push people away (myself included). My parish has the largest k-6 catholic school in the city and only one full time priest. Attendance is up for both the school and the church. However, I do think that they are undercharging tuition. The school is in desperate need of repairs and more space with the question of where the money going to come from.

  97. I think for the schools, the issue is more the lack of nuns than the lack of priests.

  98. “What is odd is that traditionally, Catholic schools were often bilingual. They were bastions of immigrant culture. My FIL started at a French speaking Catholic school. There were also schools in that area that catered to Polish kids. Different churches served the different groups – there was a Polish church in town with Polish services, and a French church. Sometime in the 60’s or so, that started dying out.”

    The longer history is that my particular parish was French-Canadian, then Italian, at some point dropped the Italian and went to just English, and now has services in Spanish. (of course, in the early days, Mass was Latin anyway, but you all know what I mean) And it’s the same other places around the city.

  99. Most of the membership of our Episcopal church are people who left the Catholic church because it got too conservative for them under John Paul II. Going to the Lincoln model would definitely NOT help the Catholic churches here!

  100. Yes, the Episcopal church has adopted many of the practices urged on the Catholic Church — women and gay priests, contraception/abortion/gay marriage all fine — but they are bleeding members. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/04/liberal-churches-are-dying-but-conservative-churches-are-thriving/?utm_term=.5edf9a16cbed

    An Episcopal friend acknowledged that opening up their clergy to women, married men, and homosexuals has removed the priest shortage, but “now we have a laity shortage.”

  101. Going back to the OP, I wonder if what we are really seeing is a growing population at the younger ages (Millennials were the “baby bump” after the “bust” of GenX, after all), and we are all just interpreting the growth in our areas via confirmation bias. E.g., Rhett is a serious urbanite, and he sees more and more young people flocking in around him, and so he construes that as a trend toward the city; Scarlett is more suburban/smaller town, and she sees more and more young people doing what she did, and so she construes that as a trend toward the suburbs. When in reality, it’s just that there are more young people overall.

    IDK if this is actually true, of course, just struck me as a possibility given the power of confirmation bias.

  102. “Catholic elementary schools in the inner cities often serve non-Catholic students. At many of those schools, Catholic students are actually in the minority.”

    One of the “premiere” Catholic schools here has a whole program dedicated to non-Catholics. We considered sending DS there, but I really wasn’t comfortable with sending him to Catholic school. DH grew up Catholic (13 years of Catholic school), I grew up Protestant (mainline), and we are both agnostic at best as adults.

  103. LfB,

    I would add changing demographics would also be a factor. Take Southie “home prices rose 89 percent, the population just about doubled, and the percentage of adults with bachelors degrees increased from around 30 percent to 70 percent.” Even if the population hadn’t doubled, the nearly doubling of home prices and the increase in degrees from 30 to 70% would be a major trend.

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