Some of the most eye-catching data the survey recorded dealt with teen sexuality. Who would have thought that in sex-positive San Francisco, 28 percent of teens would report having engaged in sexual intercourse -- only a little more than half the state average of 48 percent?
Simmons and others are keen to chalk that one up to early and effective sex education programs in schools. They may well be right -- but it warrants mentioning that this survey was given to high school students. Many of those having sex early and often may well have dropped out of high school.
Somewhat confoundingly, while San Francisco teens have less sex than their peers statewide, they engage in high-risk sexual behavior at a nearly identical rate. Simmons explanation: Just a few folks are skewing the data by engaging in scads of risky behavior (this is a variation on the "Keith Richards has done all the drugs" jokes, only it's serious).
You know what puts the damper on a positve report about the youth of today? Murders. Lots of murders. Of the 98 recorded homicides in San Francisco in 2007, 35 of the victims were 24 or younger. When you consider that this age group only represents about 10 percent of San Francisco's population, young folks are slain at an extremely disproportionate rate.
Other grim tallies from the survey:
San Francisco (30 per 100,000), and is nearly twice the statewide rate;
African American and Latino youth are greatly overrepresented in
homicides, with 90 percent of young homicide victims in 2007 being
either African American (54 percent) or Latino (37 percent).
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