Quotes of the day

posted at 9:45 pm on October 19, 2012 by Allahpundit

We’re becoming Europe. At least, that’s what a long line of U.S. birth-rate figures seems to being telling us. And that’s bad news for the future of the country.

New numbers released by the U.S. government on Tuesday show record-low birth rates in 2011: the general fertility rate (63.2 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44) was the lowest ever recorded; the birth rate for teenagers ages 15 to 19 declined; birth rates for women ages 20 to 24 hit a record low; and rates for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black women dipped. Some birth rates remained unchanged, like those of women in their late 40s. Only women ages 35 to 39 and 40 to 44 are more likely to have babies now than in the past…

The U.S. rate hasn’t fallen to European levels yet. The birth rate of children per woman in the U.S. is about 1.9. But the downward trend will almost certainly force the U.S. to rethink how to financially support the elderly and fund programs like Social Security and Medicare, ongoing economic debates that will take on even more weight as the country ages.

***

The first part of the story is the fertility rate by age. The fertility rate for women in their 30s and older remained basically constant—the Great Recession hasn’t stopped older women from having children. The big declines have come among women in their 20s. This trend of delaying childbirth is perfectly consistent with what we’ve seen in America since the late 1960s: As more people began attending college (and then graduate school), the average age of first marriage rose. As women (and men) waited longer to get married, they waited longer to have children, too. So the average age of women’s first birth rose in tandem…

[B]uried deep in the report is the most telling number of all: In the last year the number of “first” births dropped to the lowest level ever recorded in America. What does that mean? It means that we’re slowly bifurcating into a country where there are two kinds of adults: people who have children, and people who do not. The people who have children are inclined to have seconds and thirds. But for the first time in our nation’s history, we’re growing a sizable cohort of adults who remain childless their entire lives.

And a sea change like that never happens without consequences.

***

What the entitlement state meant was that for the first time in history, people didn’t need children to care for them in their old age. The government would do it. Socializing this cost created a market distortion. Children are expensive to raise and everybody gets the government’s geezer goodies, whether they pay for the cost of creating new taxpayers or not. So only the suckers have kids.

That’s the economic argument. And I don’t mean to dismiss it, because it has been an important driver in what’s happened to fertility in America. But as to the specific question we’re looking at today—the rise of childless Americans in the last 40 years—it just isn’t sufficient to explain the shift. After all, by 1970, Social Security had been on the books for a generation. And when you look at our fertility numbers, they’d been trending slightly downward since 1950 as the Baby Boom faded. But just around 1970, they went into a nosedive.

Which brings us to the second explanation: It’s the culture. What happened beginning in 1970 was a massive change in American culture. Just to tick off a few of the most obvious changes: abortion, contraception, marriage, divorce, and religious practice. Each of these subjects underwent titanic shifts beginning in or about 1970. And as our relationship to them changed, so did our behavior with regards to family life.

Where does that leave us today? With one final, scary thought. What if our new reality—the fact that a fifth of Americans no longer bother to have children at all—exerts its own pull on our demographics? There’s some data from Europe and the Far East to suggest that once a critical mass of people choose to remain childless, their example influences young adults and alters their behaviors and expectations.

***

The emerging “new politics” of the rising Single Nation could impact elections for decades to come, particularly in Democratic strongholds like Chicago, New York or San Francisco. These areas will be increasingly dominated by a vast, often well-educated and affluent class of voters whose interests are largely defined around their own world-view, without overmuch concern with the fate of offspring, along with the urban poor and the public workers who tend to both groups. Since the childless frequently lack the kinship networks that are obliged to provide for them in moments of trouble, they tend to look more to government to care for them in hard times or old age.

But the Single Nation’s grip on power may not be sustainable for more than a generation. After all they, by definition, will have no heirs. This, notes author Eric Kauffman, hands the long-term advantage to generally more conservative family-oriented households, who often have two or more offspring. Birth rates among such conservative populations such as Mormons and evangelical Christians tend to be twice as high than those of the nonreligious.

As a result, Kauffman predicts that inevitably “the religious will inherit the earth” and ensure that conservative, more familial-oriented values inevitably prevail. Even among generally liberal groups like Jews, the orthodox and affiliated are vastly out-birthing their secular counterparts; by some estimates roughly two in five New York Jews is orthodox, including three quarters of the city’s Jewish children. If these trends continue, politics even in the progressive nirvana of Gotham may be pulled somewhat to the right.

***

Using charts and info from Pew, the Census, and a Ph.D presentation put together by Elise Barrella & Sara Beck of Georgia Tech, we’ve found some interesting facts about what America will look like in a few decades…

These evolving demographic dynamics will have consequences on the economy, which we also address in this feature.


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Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 7:33 AM

Baby POOP can be gross, but babies NEVER are. Have you ever held a newborn? Adorable. The softest skin you can imagine.

Grace_is_sufficient on October 20, 2012 at 7:43 AM

mark81150 on October 20, 2012 at 7:11 AM

Yay, you! This makes me happy. Incidentally, we are dog lovers, too, and while they are no substitute for children, our two are a source of great pleasure.

DrMagnolias on October 20, 2012 at 7:46 AM

Happy Birthday Michelle Malkin!

Flora Duh on October 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

I’ve held a couple newborns. I always feel like I’ll break them in half. Startles me how tiny they start out.

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Flora Duh on October 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Happy Birthday, Boss!

kingsjester on October 20, 2012 at 7:59 AM

Any of you see the recent tip on Drudge about how Gloria Alred is supposedly getting ready to hold a press conference about something she hopes will hurt Romney?

What do you all think of what that fool Gloria Alred might be up to? If she were to pull something like that, I think it could backfire BIG TIME on the Obama campaign.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:02 AM

Gloria Alred is an ambulance chasing publicity hound…she’s the left’s equivalent of Sheriff Joe.

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 8:09 AM

and I don’t see any way she could possibly harm Mitt…like a lot of idiots she overestimates her influence.

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Reuters photo of the estimated crowd of 10K to see Romney/Ryan in Daytona last night.

http://t.co/m3aFsRHM

Flora Duh on October 20, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 8:09 AM

If Gloria Alred did try to pull some kind of stunt, I hope that every report covering it identifies her as “Obama supporter Gloria Alred” over and over.

Gloria Alred is almost universally reviled and is known, like you said, for chasing publicity. If her hypothetical stunt could be associated with the Obama campaign, it would be very bad for Barack… and you would see Republican enthusiasm for voting GO THROUGH THE ROOF.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Reuters photo of the estimated crowd of 10K to see Romney/Ryan in Daytona last night.

http://t.co/m3aFsRHM

Flora Duh on October 20, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Wow that is awesome.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:02 AM

From what I remember wasn’t it a rare personal tweet from Drudge, not even on his site? I haven’t seen it on his site.
Mizz Allred must have found a disgruntled binder woman. Only thing I can think of.

Brat on October 20, 2012 at 8:22 AM

and you would see Republican enthusiasm for voting GO THROUGH THE ROOF.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:16 AM

I think it’s already through the roof, the polls will reflect that in a couple weeks when they have to.

Brat’s probably right. Alred found a woman who was abused by a binder growing up.

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Well, they’re getting mocked and laughed at because of the Big Bird and Binders line of attack, so guess what:

Priorities USA Will Focus on Romney’s Bain Record in Closing Stretch

Flora Duh on October 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Any of you see the recent tip on Drudge about how Gloria Alred is supposedly getting ready to hold a press conference about something she hopes will hurt Romney?

What do you all think of what that fool Gloria Alred might be up to? If she were to pull something like that, I think it could backfire BIG TIME on the Obama campaign.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:02 AM

I’m very nervous about this. She won’t have any effect on political junkies like us, but if she can make the allegation stick–and she’s very good at that–she can really hurt Romney with low-information voters. Look what she did with Meg Whitman…

I have a feeling it will be along the lines of a female employee he apparently treated poorly, as I doubt even Gloria Allred can find a woman alive he so much as flirted with.

Grace_is_sufficient on October 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Brat’s probably right. Alred found a woman who was abused by a binder growing up.

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Hehe. Sounds about right.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:31 AM

conservative_student

Start a family. Way back when in the 70s I bought the liberal line that it was too unstable a world for kids, overpopulation was a threat, environment needed less people and stopped at one. Wish I’d had another. Enjoying daughter’s 2 grandchildren now and wish I had more.

Bottom line, unless you’re born into the Romney family :) you’ll never have that assured financial future you’re looking for. It is not irresponsible to venture forth with a family into uncertainty as it’s the normal lot of mankind.

philw1776 on October 20, 2012 at 8:31 AM

word philw1776…

word

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 8:37 AM

I’m very nervous about this. She won’t have any effect on political junkies like us, but if she can make the allegation stick–and she’s very good at that–she can really hurt Romney with low-information voters. Look what she did with Meg Whitman…

Grace_is_sufficient on October 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM

That was my thought, as well. It’s almost like the binder nonsense is just a warm up for the Alred stunt, as if it were a way to already get people in the “War on Women” mindset. I can imagine Romney’s innocuous binder comment being replayed in the same tv reports showing Alred’s comments, making it seem like there is a strong linkage between the two.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:37 AM

how did Nate Silver become an expert by predicting the Obama win? Was there anyone anywhere that didn’t predict it?

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Gloria Alred is almost universally reviled and is known, like you said, for chasing publicity. If her hypothetical stunt could be associated with the Obama campaign, it would be very bad for Barack… and you would see Republican enthusiasm for voting GO THROUGH THE ROOF.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:16 AM

This is true among conservatives and Republicans. But people who don’t know about Libya surely don’t know about Gloria Allred. If she can find one woman who can make a sorta-kinda legitimate claim, she will use her for the good of the cause.

Key word: legitimate. It HAS to be plausible. If it’s not, it WILL backfire. If it is, it might ruin the Romney campaign.

Call me a nervous Nelly. Only thing that makes me feel better is Drudge hasn’t mentioned it on his site, and he would if he could get corraboration, to take the wind out of her sails…

Grace_is_sufficient on October 20, 2012 at 8:40 AM

i.e., following Alred clip of her making outrageous accusations: “and this isn’t the first time Mitt Romney has been accused of being insensitive to women. In last week’s town hall debate, Romney made the following controversial comments, leading many voters to wonder about his views of women. [shows clip] Just look at some of the ‘binder’ parodies that have emerged from the controversy. [clip] Whether enough women will be bothered by Romney’s comments on working women remains to be seen, blah blah blah”

and it just leaves stupid people wondering, “what’s this about Mitt about putting down women?”

it’s disgusting.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:41 AM

how did Nate Silver become an expert by predicting the Obama win? Was there anyone anywhere that didn’t predict it?

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 8:39 AM

If Obama is liberals’ messiah, then Nate is a saint. Could it be related to his former days as a Kos kiddie?

Grace_is_sufficient on October 20, 2012 at 8:42 AM

it’s disgusting.

bluegill on October 20, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Yes, and it would reek of desperation. A month ago I would’ve said they wouldn’t try it…too risky. But now they’re frantic. I’d like to think it would backfire, but we have too many uninformed and frankly moronic voters.

I pray every day that the wicked will not prosper…*sigh*

Grace_is_sufficient on October 20, 2012 at 8:44 AM

that’s worst of all. Silver was “just a blogger” until the paper of record hired him. Now he’s the expert of experts. Horse Hockey, I say.

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Then why is there more traffic?

Kissmygrits on October 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Happy Birthday Michelle Malkin!

Flora Duh on October 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

…my favorite! Happpy birthday! (I guess a little birthday spanky is out of the question?)…oh…ok!

KOOLAID2 on October 20, 2012 at 9:35 AM

and I STILL love being a mother, it never gets old!

herm2416 on October 20, 2012 at 7:19 AM

Hold it. ‘herm’ is a man’s name. That’s false advertizing.

Lanceman on October 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 7:33 AM

.
Baby POOP can be gross, but babies NEVER are. Have you ever held a newborn? Adorable. The softest skin you can imagine.

Grace_is_sufficient on October 20, 2012 at 7:43 AM

.
Dittos++++++++++++++++
.
Grace’, did you happen to catch my post last night?

listens2glenn on October 20, 2012 at 1:38 AM

: (

listens2glenn on October 20, 2012 at 10:31 AM

BOOM!

Gravis has them TIED in Ohio. 41/32/27 (D +9), MOE +/- 2.2

* R +6 w/men (50 to 44 percent)

* O +4 w/women (49 to 45 percent). Surprisingly low.

* 87% of Democrats say they will vote for President Obama

* 92% of Republicans say they will vote for Governor Romney

* R +19 w/Independents (52 to 33)

* O approval rating 44. Disapproval at 50.

* Right track/wrong track: 43/49

http://www.gravispolls.com/2012/10/gravis-ohio-poll-shows.html

Turnout in Obama’s “magic” year was D +5. He can’t replicate 2008 much less surpass it.

In 2008, Obama beat John McCain in Ohio by 8% among independents. Today, Romney leads Obama with independents by 19 points. That’s a 27 point swing. Not even SEIU & ACORN can manufacture enough Gumby & Pokey votes to compensate for that.

Ohio — per RuPoll — “in the bag,” “locked in,” “cemented,” “set in stone”? I think not.

Stay thirsty, my friends…but, when you toast, toast to “Mitt is Toast.”

Resist We Much on October 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Baby POOP can be gross, but babies NEVER are. Have you ever held a newborn? Adorable. The softest skin you can imagine.

Grace_is_sufficient on October 20, 2012 at 7:43 AM

I had to take care of my wife’s grandmother for several months before our daughter was born. After dealing with Depends and occasionally having to snap on a pair of gloves and manually extract stopped up fecal matter, dealing with baby poop is a breeze.

Count to 10 on October 20, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Hold it. ‘herm’ is a man’s name. That’s false advertizing.

Lanceman on October 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Had you been paying attention at last December 7th open reg, you would know herm to be Heather. I’m surprised that got by you Lanceman. Slipping?

Bmore on October 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM

I still love babies!!!

Bmore on October 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Baby POOP can be gross, but babies NEVER are. Have you ever held a newborn? Adorable. The softest skin you can imagine.

Grace_is_sufficient on October 20, 2012 at 7:43 AM

.
I had to take care of my wife’s grandmother for several months before our daughter was born. After dealing with Depends and occasionally having to snap on a pair of gloves and manually extract stopped up fecal matter, dealing with baby poop is a breeze.

Count to 10 on October 20, 2012 at 10:52 AM

.
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH ! ! ! ! !
.
.
Well, there went my day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

listens2glenn on October 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

When I finally hit the hay last night, I could have sworn the tag line was babies?

Bmore on October 20, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Had I know or been aware the thread tagline wasn’t babies! I wouldn’t have cued up so many babies tunes. I would have gone more this direction. Children.

Bmore on October 20, 2012 at 8:39 PM

I’ve held a couple newborns. I always feel like I’ll break them in half. Startles me how tiny they start out.
Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

My smallest was 8.2lbs. 21 in. Sometimes I see other babies and wonder if they were early or something. Now I look at mine and can’t believe they were ever as little as they were. :(

I didn’t hear the words Humanae Vitae until the 40th anniversary…God, how I wish a priest had preached the truth of it when I was first married. The Church is right. Figures…”what you hold bound on earth shall be held bound in heaven.”

pannw on October 20, 2012 at 8:41 PM

I’ve held a couple newborns. I always feel like I’ll break them in half. Startles me how tiny they start out.
Slade73 on October 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Think normal newborns are tiny, look at some pics of preemies. My GF was so early she barely made it and went home with a heart monitor.

MelonCollie on October 20, 2012 at 9:42 PM

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