The Blue State Exodus (Blue State (in)Fertility)

By RedShift Posted in Comments (17) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

As we have previously noted in this diary, Blue States are suffering from a shrinking population. While it may not be true that all Blue States are shrinking, or that all Red States are growing, there are general trends and attributes which can be correlated to the Blueness or Redness of a state.

As we noted here, some of those attributes have to do with fertility, abortion rates, union membership as a percentage of workforce, estate taxes, fuel taxes, etc...

We were intrigued, therefore, that Phillip Longman identified not only the regressive population trends in the US, but correlated them with State Blueness. His March 2006 article, The Return of Patriarchy, strikes a familiar tone:

"This dynamic helps explain, for example, the gradual drift of American culture away from secular individualism and toward religious fundamentalism. Among states that voted for President George W. Bush in 2004, fertility rates are 12 percent higher than in states that voted for Sen. John Kerry. It may also help to explain the increasing popular resistance among rank-and-file Europeans to such crown jewels of secular liberalism as the European Union. It turns out that Europeans who are most likely to identify themselves as "world citizens" are also those least likely to have children."



We might also add that it could explain the gradual, southwesterly drift of America's population center. There are, of course, other observations to be made. I.e., US citizens who are most likely to call for a "global test" before implementing US policy, are the least likely to procreate. We have elsewhere observed that liberal social and fiscal policy may have something to do with that, and Longman agrees:

"As governments going as far back as imperial Rome have discovered, when cultural and economic conditions discourage parenthood, not even a dictator can force people to go forth and multiply."

We believe that Longman's observations support our theory that Blue State social and fiscal policy is creating an environment in which "cultural and economic conditions discourage parenthood."

Many readers have objected to the linking of the Blue State Exodus to just one cause, and we do believe that several causes together are bringing about the effect. We are not the first to observe this. We recall, of course, Professor Vedder's observation that there was a strong correlation between outmigration and primarily tax rates, but secondarily union membership.

We have also noted that both Rhode Island and New York are starting to act red in order to cut losses. And if a Blue State can shift Red economically while the rest of the country shifts Red demographically, it works well for all of us. Especially if it means that Blue States welcome the Return of Patriarchy, which is really just a return to the traditional nuclear family.

Who would have thought that the propagation of civilization would be so simple as a man and woman, in a monogamous relationship, having children?

Perhaps Hollywood would consider a new movie genre in which the dominant theme is that of boy meets girl, falls in love with and marries her, and raises children. Kind of wacky, we know.

RedShift

Ironically, Darwin likes Evangelicals, tradional Catholics, and Mormons.

Survival of the fittest?

Re: Who would have thought that the propagation of civilization would be so simple as a man and woman, in a monogamous relationship, having children?

I wouldn't be too triumphalist on this account. Conception does not require marriage after all, and the divorce and illegitimacy rates are actually quite high in the red states.

a look at the data actually shows the relationship to illegitimacy is primarily race and education of the mother, not geography. When one looks at racial and ethnic groups the are pretty similar regardless of where they are.

Divorce data is only available on 46 states. Divorce data shows only that one party in the divorce filed for a divorce in a particular state and it tells you nothing about whether or not they have children.

So I think from just a factual standpoint you are pretty far out on a limb here.

That those groups don't even believe in Darwin.

"Who would have thought that the propagation of civilization would be so simple as a man and woman, in a monogamous relationship, having children?"

Well, off the top of my head, these folks

http://www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm

have had a pretty good handle on the concept for some time now. But what do they know- stupid theocons.

The original post implies that the red states are bastions of family values.  I am merely pointing out that divorce and illegitimacy rates do not vary by "red" or "blue". Some blue states have low divorce and out-of-wedlock birth rates; some have high. And ditto for the red states.

Also, we ought ask to what extent the apparent high birth rates of some red states are due to high levels of immigration: is it first generation Hispanics (or other first generation peoples) having many of these kids? The states (red or blue) with the highest immigration rates also seem to have the highest birth rates.

also, let us note that neither politics nor culture in the broader sense are at all hereditary. Conservative parents can easily end up with liberal (even radical) kids-- and vis versa of course too. Today's birth rates may tell us something about tomorrow's demographics, but they tell us nothing about tomorrow's politics. Case in point: who in the 1950s would have predicted the Baby Boom radicalism of the late 60s?

Re:  Perhaps Hollywood would consider a new movie genre in which the dominant theme is that of boy meets girl, falls in love with and marries her, and raises children. Kind of wacky, we know.

First of all you've described a plot not a theme.  

Secondly, (assuming you actually meant a new kind of plot) Hollywood produces one thing and one thing only: That which has the best chance of selling the most.  I too am looking for a new kind of Hollywood movie, but I am not looking for another version of the brainless drivel we are spoon fed now.  

Movies, like plays, like literature, like sculpter, like painting, photography, dance, music etc. are a form of art.  They are not about attacking or supporting individual life choices.  They should however, be about the expression of the soul and the psyche.  Would you have us burn all copies of Romeo and Juliet because they're both under age?  Not read Hamlet because he murders?  Art is make believe dummy, and believe it or not, it does not make people gay, cheat on their wife, take guns to school, use drugs or even influence the population in various states.  

Moreover, boring stories like the one you described were quite abundant in the 50s.  Which lead to the 60s and the sexual revolution.  Not saying its so, but I wouldn't be surprised if the boring films of the 50s were partially responsible for the sexual revolution.  The thought process being something like: Settle down with just one person and pop out some kids?  You mean just like all those boring Doris Day/Tony Randall/Fill in a 50s star's name/Rock Hudson movies?  Oh no, I can't.  I'm going on a mad sex spree instead.

    Hollywood produces one thing and one thing only: That which has the best chance of selling the most.

Oh, you're a comedy writer. Why didn't you say so?

I would say that the increase in making babies is also due to a more secure attitude toward the future. Lower growth rates, Higher taxes, aging population, more liberal government are all factors in the decline in population and fertility in states like New York because all thase factors make one's future less secure. I live in Idaho and the growth here is phenominal and although I don't have any numbers to back it up I would say there are more people moving here every day as well and starting families because our future seems a much brighter than that of say Vermont. I grew up in New York and moved out here in 95 after an Army stint, and I have yet to see the slowing of growth.  I think it is definitly a compound effect of not so good here and better there that is driving this migration. People seek more freedom as they realize they aren't so free where they are as well.

Secondly, (assuming you actually meant a new kind of plot) Hollywood produces one thing and one thing only: That which has the best chance of selling the most.  I too am looking for a new kind of Hollywood movie, but I am not looking for another version of the brainless drivel we are spoon fed now.

One would think that Hollywood, as a business, would produce movies that has the best chance of selling the most.  But I wonder if you realize the above conflicts with:

Movies, like plays, like literature, like sculpter, like painting, photography, dance, music etc. are a form of art.

Seeing as how the Top 10 box office movies of the 1990's are:

   1. Titanic (1997)

   2. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

   3. Jurassic Park (1993)

   4. Independence Day (1996)

   5. The Lion King (1994)

   6. Forrest Gump (1994)

   7. The Sixth Sense (1999)

   8. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

   9. Men in Black (1997)

  10. Armageddon (1998)

Incidentally, here's the Top 15 list for 2005:

1    Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

2    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

3    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

4    War of the Worlds

5    King Kong

6    Wedding Crashers

7    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory   

8    Batman Begins   

9    Madagascar   

10    Mr. & Mrs. Smith

11    Hitch   

12    The Longest Yard

13    Fantastic Four   

14    Chicken Little   

15    Robots   

So... out of 15, 11 can be classified as family-friendly fare, with 6 of them aimed directly at the children's market (Harry Potter, Narnia, Charlie & Chocolate Factory, Madagascar, Chicken Little, and Robots) and 5 arguably aimed at them (Star Wars, War of the Worlds, King Kong, Batman, Fantastic Four).

Given this, I can see why Hollywood would make movies like Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Transamerica, Constant Gardener, and Munich.  Not.

-TS

Exclude Catholics from that comment; or more accurately, Catholics don't treat Darwin's teachings, or science, as theology. We have no problem, theologically, with evolution.

Aleks311 observes,

"The original post implies that the red states are bastions of family values."

Actually, the original post explicitly expressed a theory as regards state level population trends:

"We believe that Longman's observations support our theory that Blue State social and fiscal policy is creating an environment in which 'cultural and economic conditions discourage parenthood.'"

It may well be that family values would contribute to the propagation of large families (but they need not), and Longman's article posits one fact (Red State fertility rates are higher) and one hypothesis: above replacement level fertility rates are typical when the the patriarchy returns.

We believe that Red States are creating social and fiscal environments conducive to higher fertility and population growth, and Longman (a liberal) appears to agree that something is happening as a catalyst in those states to contribute to the growth.

As a side note, we remind the reader of Longman's peculiar definition of patriarchy:

"[A] particular value system that not only requires men to marry but to marry a woman of proper station."

On that basis, Aleks311 could have with equal justification responded, "The original post implies that the red states are bastions of classism."

Yet, such things can only be inferred by the reader, and invalidly at that.

It is indisputable that many Blue States (there are exceptions) are either shrinking, or growing slower than many Red States (likewise, there are exceptions). It is indisputable that Red States tend to have lower taxes, higher fertility, lower abortion rates and (with a nod to Professor Vedder), lower union membership. The opposite combination may cause such an oppressive social and fiscal environment that both residency and reproduction are unaffordable options. This is our theory.

We have made no claims either that Red States are bastions of family values, or that taxes, abortion, infertility and unions do not exist in Red States.

RedShift

Leo writes,

"Hollywood produces one thing and one thing only: That which has the best chance of selling the most."

This is demonstrably false. For the analysis, I defer to Steve Sailer's excellent 2002 article, R-rated films hurt box office, in which he vindicates Michael Medved's opinion:

"Every single year of those 11 years without exception, R-rated movies have done the worst on average at the box office of any rating," Medved said by phone from his Seattle radio studio. "It's a very significant difference."

Further, the entertainment industry, be it Theatre, Movies, Poetry, etc... of any era has acknowledged that it does not merely seek to reflect society but affect it. One example from the previous century is Jean-Paul Sartre. We quote here from Paul Johnson's Intellectuals. Sartre

"...believed that by plays and novels he could bring about mass participation in his system."(Intellectuals, pg. 225).

In our humble opinion, the idea that the entertainment industry serves only to reflect society is a novelty.

However, it may well be that a conversion is taking place in Hollywood--namely that, having failed to beat them, Hollywood will join them. USA Today recently noted (March 2004) that "three [children] is the new two," indicating the makings of a new baby boomlet:

"Whether they keep working, quit or go part time, many women are choosing to have three children -- large families by today's standards."

Has Hollywood noticed this? It's possible. Meghan Cox Gurdon of the Wall Street Journal (January 2006) observes a new trend in Hollywood:

"There has been much gloomy beard-tugging in recent years about the demographic decline of Western countries. Though it is true that parents in the U.S. are managing to replace themselves--unlike, for example, Europeans--we do not live in an era of big families...There is, however, one corner of the U.S. where family size has suddenly expanded to titanic proportions, and it isn't Utah. It's Hollywood....The recent return of big families to the screen is both telling and pleasing. It will be more pleasing still when those families are able to appear not solely amid zany pandemonium but also in orderly accommodation with the rest of society. Then reel life will be a whole lot closer to real life."

Of course, there will always be Brokeback Mountains, but it is nice to see Hollywood portraying larger families on screen. Are families having more children because of Hollywood, or is Hollywood protraying larger families because of the trends?

Cause and effect, of course, are often difficult to prove.

RedShift

Re: patriarchy and fertility

I would say that matriarchy also has a fertility-enhancing effect since women in a feamle dominated system look for fulfillment in child rearing rather than in marriage. Case in point: the high fertility rate of female-headed underclass households. Of course there are serious social problems that result from such arrangements, but lack of children is not one of them.

Re: It is indisputable that many Blue States (there are exceptions) are either shrinking, or growing slower than many Red States

Yes, but I believe this is far more a function of geography than of family values. Look where the blue states are: except for CA and HI (both still growing) they are in areas of unpleasant climate and with air conditioining and effective pest control the Sunbelt red states beckon quite seductively-- with the result that many of them are becoming purple states as northern liberals migrate south and southwest. New Mexico for example is now right on the blue-red edge. And meanwhile climatically challenged red states (e.g., the Daklotas) are also losing population.

Because growth rates vary widely within states. Arkansas is growing, to be sure, but all of it comes from the northwest corner of the state. The Little Rock area is growing slowly, and the rest of the state is losing population.

And the most rapidly growing metropolitan area is Las Vegas, not exactly a place that encourages parenthood.

And the most rapidly growing metropolitan area is Las Vegas, not exactly a place that encourages parenthood.

The way homes in gated communites around LV are being build, a LOT of kids are moving to the area. A lot of young families too.  One of the reasons that EVERY casino has rides and entertainment for kids.

NOTE: the odds are better in the casinos than on the kiddie stuff!

But while I'm hardly a "values voter" or anything of the sort, personally, I'd think long and hard before I moved my family out there.

 
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