Around New England

Kids An Endangered Species on Outer Cape, Particularly in Provincetown

March 25, 2019

Provincetown and Truro at the northern tip of Cape Cod are offering free preschool to try to keep families with children from leaving, because enrollment in the public schools is plummeting.

The two towns plus neighboring Wellfleet together have lost 24 percent of their school-age children during the last 10 years (from 444 to 336), according to The Cape Cod Times.

Provincetown alone has lost 27 percent during that time. Its high school closed in 2013.

A demographer found that children make up only 5 percent of the population of Provincetown.

“Have you ever lived in a place with no children?” said Beth Singer, superintendent of Provincetown public schools, according to the Cape Cod Times. “I have. It feels different. It sounds different.”

In 2018, deaths in Provincetown outnumbered births, 43 to 15.

The story cites the limited availability and high cost of housing in the Cape towns, which largely cater to summer visitors.

The Cape Cod Times story doesn’t mention it, but Provincetown has the highest percentage of same-sex couples in the United States, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, which analyzed U.S. census data in a 2011 report.

At 148 per 1,000 households, the number of same-sex couples in Provincetown in 2010 was 18 percent higher than in the next highest community in the country.


Gary J. Gates and Abigail M. Cooke, ‘United States Census Snapshot: 2010,’ page 5, The Williams Institute, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law



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