San Antonio is home to over 1.5 million people and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. At the same time, the people of San Antonio face many problems, especially the young. Brokenness persists, is widespread and often generational. Here is a glimpse of our “Broken World.”
The poverty rate in Bexar County has oscillated between 13 and 21 percent in the last decade, with the latest report placing poverty at 17.4%. Nearly 130,000 local children live in poverty. About 25% of children living in San Antonio are considered “food insecure.” Latino and African-American families are almost four times as likely to live in poverty compared to non-Hispanic white individuals.
Overall, crime in San Antonio is well below the peak in the early 1990s. However, crime rates have been reported to be climbing once again. Recent crime statistics reveal a 23 percent increase in crime, a 52 percent spike in violent crime, and a 55 percent climb in murders. The violent crime rate in San Antonio is over 50 percent above than the national average. Felony crimes committed by juveniles in San Antonio are up over 20% in 2017 vs. 2016.
A Troubled Community
San Antonio is considered to be one of the country’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. This means that the city experiences higher than usual incidents of drugs moving across the border from Mexico. The Opiod overdose fatality rate in Bexar County in higher than most other counties in Texas. The problem of drug abuse has likewise continued to grow and the ramifications are disturbing.
The number of children growing up in single-parent households in San Antonio is about 45% compared to average across the U.S. of 35%. The lack of a father or other positive male role model leaves many young men without any idea of what constitutes authentic manhood. Children in single-parent families are more likely to drop out of school, to have or cause a teen pregnancy and to experience a divorce in adulthood.
By their senior year, more than a quarter of high school students in San Antonio will have left school. The dropout rate in Bexar County climbed to 28 percent, up 3 percentage points from a couple of years ago, and it surpassed the rates in the Houston, Dallas and Austin areas.
Brokenness in our community persists, challenges abound, fixes are elusive and real solutions require bold approaches.