Econ in the News: When Housing Affects the Next Generation

The San Francisco School District is scrambling to find teachers as increasing home prices prevent teachers from finding suitable living arrangements.
The San Francisco School District is scrambling to find teachers as increasing home prices prevent them from finding suitable living arrangements.

In Palo Alto, you hear a lot from student groups and activists about the increasing gentrification of San Francisco neighborhoods. The long-term implications of rising home prices were recently brought to light by a Business Insider article; because of the sky-high prices, teachers are being priced out of city schools.

As the new school year dawns, San Francisco schools are struggling to find about 50 additional qualified teachers to teach its students. The most common reason, teachers say, is the high cost of renting or owning a place to live, especially in a reasonable area from where they would work.

The great irony here is that the young tech workers of Silicon Valley – who are often the ones driving up home prices in SF – value education; however, when the supply of homes remains near-constant in comparison to the increased demand, teachers cannot find reasonable accommodations near their schools when competing with people whose salaries are in the six and seven figures. Gentrification, then, is starting to directly affect the progeny of those who are driving up demand, through no fault of their own but rather due to simple economics. Unless a greater supply of homes suitable for teachers appears, or demand starts to level off, lower-paid workers in San Francisco who are crucial to the city’s well-being are going to grow increasingly scarce. Maybe this could lead to higher pay for SF teachers, but that’s a discussion for another time.

You can read the full Business Insider article here.

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