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States, however, differ significantly in white fertility. The most fecund whites are in heavily Mormon Utah, which, not coincidentally, was the only state where Bush received over 70 percent. White women average 2.45 babies in Utah compared to merely 1.11 babies in Washington D.C., where Bush earned but 9 percent. The three New England states where Bush won less than 40 percent—Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island—comprise three of the four states with the lowest white birth rates, with little Rhode Island dipping below 1.5 babies per woman.
Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility (just as he did in 2000), and 25 out of the top 26, with highly unionized Michigan being the one blue exception to the rule …
In sharp contrast, Kerry won the 16 states at the bottom of the list, with the Democrats’ anchor states of California (1.65) and New York (1.72) having quite infertile whites.
Among the fifty states plus Washington D.C., white total fertility correlates at a remarkably strong 0.86 level with Bush’s percentage of the 2004 vote.(In 2000, the correlation was 0.85). In the social sciences, a correlation of 0.2 is considered low, 0.4 medium, and 0.6 high.
You could predict 74% of the variation in Bush’s shares just from knowing each state’s white fertility rate. When the average fertility goes up by a tenth of a child, Bush’s share normally goes up by 4.5 points.
This result can not be explained away by the effects of lower IQ people having more children than higher IQ people (even though that is really happening). In spite of left-liberal imaginings to the contrary Bush did well in many states that have higher average IQs.
The Democrats do well in less egalitarian states where the middle class is smaller and both the lower and upper classes are larger.
Democrats, however, tend to be more inegalitarian, with higher highs and lower lows than the more middling Republicans.
This is clearly visible in the biggest blue state of them all, California.
Census Bureau figures show that California, traditionally America’s trendsetter, is pioneering a new kind of class structure—ominously like that of highly unequal Latin American countries like Brazil or Mexico.
The Golden State is now one of only three states with above average percentages both of people who never got past elementary school and of holders of graduate degrees. (The other two are New Mexico and Rhode Island). In California, 10.7 percent of grownups have no more than elementary schooling, compared to only 6.4 percent in the other 49 states.
Of all the states in the Union, California now has the lowest percentage of its population with a midlevel education consisting of at least a high school diploma or some college, but not a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college.
California’s educational inequality is driven by both foreign immigration and domestic migration. The state has attracted the top and the bottom of the schooling pyramid, while repelling the middle.
These upper-middle-class newcomers tend to be liberal, especially on cultural issues.
In contrast, Mexican immigrants supply much of California’s huge number of less-educated people. According to a 2000 Census Bureau survey, 65 percent of America’s Mexican immigrants never finished high school versus only 9.6 percent of natives.
Highly egalitarian yet highly Republican Utah is closer to the egalitarian ideals that the Democratic Party quite falsely claims to champion. But unegalitarian California represents the future for America as a whole. The flood of Hispanic lower class immigrants will increase the size of the lower classes and the resulting greater inequality bodes well for the Democratic Party in the voting booth.
Utah, the destination of so many disgruntled ex-Californians, is emerging as the anti-California. It leads the country with only 2.4 percent of its residents never having attended high school.
Paradoxically, this staunchly Republican state, where Bush won 71 percent in 2004, exemplifies some of the supposed egalitarian ideals of the Democratic Party. A 2000 study by the Economic Policy Institute found Utah to have the most equal income distribution of any state.
Still, Utah is more likely to be the anomaly and California the harbinger of the United States’ future.
The Republicans are committing political suicide by trying to curry favor with Hispanics by offering amnesty programs, worker permit programs, and lax immigration law enforcement. The United States of America is going to become like Latin America.
Before Steve posted his explanation of total white fertility as an incredibly strong correlation with Bush’s vote A gnxp.com post started an interesting list of speculations on what might yield such a strong correlation with a pro-Bush vote. Check it out.
My own thoughts: Is the fertility rate a proxy for something else? For instance, my guess is that white women who have more children tend to be married longer than white women who have fewer children. At the same time, there is a huge gap (which I’m in too much of a rush to find a link for) between voting patterns of single and married women. Married women vote Republican in much larger numbers (the difference is almost 20%—a big swing) than do single women. I would be very curious to know what the correlation is between ratio of white men to white women voting for Republicans versus total Republican vote in each state. Did the Red states swing more Republican because the male-female pro-Republican voting gap is narrower in Blue states than in Red states?
Of course, the kinds of women who have more children have different values on average from women who do not have as many children. For instance, they assign a higher relative value to having children. Either that or they find it easier to find men who they think make suitable partners.
In a related vein divorce rates are an imperfect measure of family values. One reason for this is that marriage rates are higher in Red states. So the Red states have more marriages to be at risk of breaking up in the first place.
Then there is the evolutionary biological angle to the differences in fertility rates of white women in different states: Will white fertility rates eventually start rising as the women who have the strongest genetically-caused instinct to reproduce have more children than women who have weaker instincts to reproduce? A few months ago I was watching a C-Span broadcast from a Washington DC demographics thinktank (and if anyone can find this report I’m about to describe please tell me—dummy me I forgot to write down the thinktank name and I can’t find this report after many hours searching). The thinktank had just released a new study where they reported that in some African countries the fertility rate has stopped dropping and has even increased in some cases. My interpretation is that natural selection is selecting for women who will have more children in spite of the influences of modernity. This does not bode well for the optimistic view that problems will come from human population growth will eventually be solved by massive numbers of voluntary individual decisions to have progressively fewer children.
Update Read the full article here. His arguments for why the gap exists between the Red and Blue states is pretty convincing.
(Posted on November 29, 2004)