One of the increasingly evident differences between the liberals and the conservatives is, apparently, crudely simple: Democrats aren’t breeding fast enough while Republicans are happily procreating.  

High fertility appears to be an indicator of religious conviction and conservatism. According to Phillip Longman’s article in The Washington Post, a robust 47 percent of consistent churchgoers claim that they would ideally have a family with three or more children, while only 27 percent of their more secular counterparts want such large families. The religiously minded voters in these larger families tend to support the conservatives, and Longman, who is a senior fellow at the New America Institute (an independent, non-partisan, non-profit public policy institute) continues:

Of the top 10 most fertile states, all but one voted for Bush in 2000. Among the 17 states that still produce enough children to replace their populations, all but two — Iowa and Minnesota — voted for Bush in the last election. Conversely, the least fertile states — a list that includes Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut — went overwhelmingly for Al Gore. Women living in Gore states on average have 12 percent fewer babies than women living in Bush states.

Longman’s work is interesting for its predictive value, but his conclusion seems a bit panicky; he suggests that with Republicans filling both cradles and ballot boxes, the Democrats have a dwindling future — in his words, “if ‘Metros’ don’t start having more children, America’s future is ‘Retro.’” Such analysis neglects to take into consideration the voting patterns of immigrants and the changing loyalties of certain voting blocks, such as American Muslims and Arab Americans. Furthermore, Longman’s data is indicative not only of the political inclinations of Republicans and Democrats but also of levels of voter participation; fertility levels of conservatives and liberals may have ramifications on future generations, but the more immediate and ultimately important factor is voter participation.

Mimi Hanaoka


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