Supported by

The Idea File

How Cities Became Childless

Jan 09, 2020 | 16 videos
Video by The Atlantic

The American city was once a great place to start a family. Today’s cities, however, are decidedly not for children—or for families who want children. In a new episode of The Idea File, the writer Derek Thompson explains how urban living became so inhospitable to families and details the consequences of this major shift in the demographics of the American metropolis.

“You have high-paying jobs concentrated in cities,” Thompson says, “but you also have a situation where it’s harder and harder to raise a family in those areas. It almost forces individuals to make a choice: capital or kids?”

For more, read Thompson’s article “The Future of the City Is Childless.”

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to

Authors: Vishakha Darbha, Catherine Spangler

About This Series

Deconstructing the way we live, with The Atlantic's writers