Friday, September 15, 2017

Pensacola 16th Worst City In America to Raise Children

Today, MSN had an article ranking Pensacola the 16th WORST CITY IN AMERICA TO RAISE KIDS.

In a country as large and diverse as the United States, not all areas are equal when it comes to raising children. While the number of factors that can affect a child's development is seemingly limitless, there are a few core measures related to safety, school district quality, and amenities that can make all the difference between one area and another. And in some parts of the country, children are at a considerable disadvantage.

24/7 Wall St. created an index to identify the 25 worst U.S. metro areas in which to raise a child. All but two cities on this list are located in the either the western or southern United States.

The ideal city in which to raise children should be safe and have quality schools and plenty of recreational amenities. Only metro areas with some combination of high violent crime rates, low preschool enrollment rates, low high school graduation rates, and limited access to parks and recreation centers made this list.

Relatively violent cities with fewer amenities and worse educational outcomes also often tend to be relatively poor. In 21 of the 25 cities on this list, the child poverty rate is higher than the 20.7% U.S. rate.

Serious financial hardship is likely partially the result of poor economic conditions. As of June 2017, the unemployment rate was higher than the 4.4% U.S. jobless rate in 18 of the 25 cities on this list.
Likely due in part to the low desirability of many of the cities on this list, home values in these areas are relatively low. In 21 of the 25 cities on this list, the median home value is less than the typical American home value of $194,500.

The Upside Indeed!!!


CJ Lewis said...

Comparing population numbers is complicated because the only numbers half-way reliable are those gathered using the same method. For example, it seems improbable that the City of Pensacola's population in 2009 was 55,637 (as reported in the city budget document) and then one year later in 2010 it was 51,923 (as also reported in the city budget document). If you were to believe the numbers in the city budget document, the city lost 423 people between 2016 and 2017. On my small street of about 20 homes during 2017 I can account for a net loss of six people. However, it seems reasonable to compare the official decennial census numbers if only because they carry so much official weight. Comparing 2000 with 2010, we see that the School Age Population (5-17) in Escambia County declined by -11.67% while at the same time the School Age Population in Santa Rosa County increased by +14.61%. The City of Pensacola number is shocking and shows a decline of -24.69%. Those numbers verify what I hear in my own Scenic Heights neighborhood with people expressing interest in moving to Santa Rosa County when their children have to leave Scenic Heights Elementary School or Cordova Park Elementary Schools (the two elementary schools that service the Scenic Heights neighborhood). In sum, families are voting with their feet as even described in a Pensacola News Journal story a few weeks ago about a family around the corner from me that moved to Santa Rosa County notwithstanding that they could have bought a comparable home here for about two-thirds of the cost of their new Pace home. When you also factor in that the per capita crime rate inside the City of Pensacola is about four times Santa Rosa County, and the governmental taxes & fees are significantly less, you can expect the trend to only accelerate. During a recent Escambia County Commission meeting, Commissioner Grover Robinson actually complained aloud that the board was not getting enough political credit for the housing boom in Santa Rosa County the result of Escambia County giving tax breaks to businesses without requiring them to hire any Escambia County residents. It would not surprise me to learn that there are more Navy Federal Credit Union employees living in Santa Rosa County than Escambia County. There might even be more City of Pensacola employees living in Santa Rosa County than in the City of Pensacola.

G. Michael Davis said...

Poor leadership in education always hurts Pensacola. Pensacola's refusal to endorse its strong points...high elevation right on the gulf of Mexico, exceptional historical interest like no other city in the U.S., Superior race relationships among all ethnic groups; Pensacola is a gem that begs to be discovered. Sad that local so called leaders are blind to the potential.