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February 28, 2016

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The point about the crappy schools is excellent, and Philadelphia in particular. Friends whose son was born in 9/2011 moved there from NYC to take an academic job at Penn in the fall of 2014. They got screwed twice over by the school system in comparison with NY; in NY their kid would have gone to UPK in 2015-16 and kindergarten in 2016-17, but in Philly, you have to turn 5 by the time school starts, so their son won't go to school until kindergarten starts in 2017. That's two more years of full-time daycare to plan for.

The other way to manage it is to live way the hell out and accept a long, long commute to work ("drive till you qualify"). Obviously this is not good for either health or the environment.

For a while, tech companies in the Boston area seemed obsessed with moving further and further out to the 495 corridor and beyond where office rents were cheaper, but after the mid-2000s real-estate crash it seemed like they all rushed into the city (or back to around 128), and a lot of them stayed there while housing got more expensive again.

Matt: great point. And it's worse than you suggest! First, suburban employment isn't spread across the landscape in an undifferentiated mass -- it concentrates in certain areas. Housing convenient to those areas rises in price, forcing moderate-income suburbanites into longer suburb-to-suburb commutes.

Second, long commute times seem to be directly linked to a lack of upward mobility, although the causal mechanism remains unclear. See page 36 here.

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