Toddling in Manhattan

Toddlers are taking over Manhattan, apparently. And not just any toddlers–the rich, white kind.

Since 2000, according to census figures released last year, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan mushroomed by more than 32 percent. And though their ranks have been growing for several years, a new analysis for The New York Times makes clear for the first time who has been driving that growth: wealthy white families.

At least half of the growth was generated by children who are white and non-Hispanic. Their ranks expanded by more than 40 percent from 2000 to 2005. For the first time since at least the 1960s, white children now outnumber either black or Hispanic youngsters in that age group in Manhattan.

The analysis shows that Manhattan’s 35,000 or so white non-Hispanic toddlers are being raised by parents whose median income was $284,208 a year in 2005, which means they are growing up in wealthier households than similar youngsters in any other large county in the country.

I could live on $284,208 per year, couldn’t you? I even have a toddler (although she will insist she is not a toddler, she is a pre-school girl).

If stumbled upon this article right after chatting with two of my colleagues about our children. While none of us have salaries that push us into that $284,208 bracket (although no telling what their husband’s make–so maybe they do), we all have young children and are much older than our mothers were when they had young children.

It’s expensive to live in Manhattan. And unless you just completed your Supreme Court Clerkship, you’re not going to be making that kind of money by the time you are 25. You’re going to be an older parent. So, these parents are older, and have devoted time to their careers first.

Is this good for business? Would it be better for a business to hire people who had their children in their early 20s, so time off for stomach viruses and school plays was taken by the low level staff instead of the executive group? In requiring extra hours that make people feel unable to produce their own offspring at young ages causing companies to lose money in the long run?

After all, it costs you less to have a $30,000 a year employee take FMLA than it does to have a $150,000 employee. (Not saying that you have to pay them their salary–you don’t, but somebody has to do the work while they are gone and it’s much easier to find a $15 an hour temp than it is to find someone who is used to $150,000 a year to work for you for 12 weeks.)

Maybe the old way of getting married young, having children young, and getting them out of the house while you are still young was better for business. Thoughts?

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5 thoughts on “Toddling in Manhattan

  1. Well I don’t know about careerwise, but it sure was physically easier to give birth at 25 than 35!

  2. That is not the type of thing I am interested in hearing about. La-la-la, I can’t hear you.

    Nope, I’m not in denial at all. No denial here!

  3. That $284K doesn’t go far when you consider all the tutors, consultants, nannys, educationcal software, and bribes those folks have to pay to get junior genius into one of the top pre-pre-school play groups.

  4. So true. I know I’ve been scarred for life by not going to the correct pre-school.

  5. I think there’d still be a problem with having enough money to have kids in the first place. The $30,000 a lower-level employee makes isn’t likely to get much higher without some sort of professional training, which requires quite a bit of money.

    Plus someone who is taking a lot of extra time to take care of kids isn’t going to get as much notice as the childless person who can do the extra projects and work extended hours, no?

    Still, you make some very good points. It’s definitely easier on a company to have the lower rung employees take time off than the more experienced (and expensive) employees.

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