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Islands of Fertility in an Ocean of Demographic Decline

 

THE NATIONWIDE INCREASE IN FERTILE CENSUS TRACTS

By Jesse Powell

A traditionalist or patriarchal subculture is growing throughout the United States among all religious groupings (and presumably among people more secular in orientation as well). This is what a close analysis of the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census reveals. To support this claim I look at what I will call Fertile Intact Census Tracts (FICTs). A FICT is defined as a census tract with more than 2.5 children per married couple that has children, a greater than 90% Married Parents Ratio (MPR), and more than 500 children in the census tract (all these measures are applied to the white Non-Hispanic population only). A FICT census tract has high fertility, a high proportion of intact families, and a big enough population to prove the positive indicators are not an accident but truly represent the character of the neighborhood. FICTs can be assumed to be highly religious census tracts; an upper class neighborhood might have a high MPR but it is unlikely to have a high fertility rate. A neighborhood with both intact families and a high fertility rate is a marker of religious influence.

Neighborhoods that are merely upper class are declining throughout the nation; they are declining in terms of their white child population and in terms of their white MPR. This was shown earlier in “The Mythical Class Divide” post:

On a national basis in the 2010 Census, as compared to the 2000 Census, there was a drop in the number of children per married couple with children (among whites) and there was a drop in the white MPR. Given this backdrop it would be reasonable to assume that the number of Fertile Intact Census Tracts (FICTs) declined as well. That would certainly be a reasonable assumption to make but it is not what actually happened.

The number of FICTs in fact increased nationwide and grew in every population group and in every region. This is a very strong indication of a growing subculture with positive family behaviors able to spread its influence to a growing number of neighborhoods. These pockets of healthy family behaviors are able to grow even though the overall culture continues its decline; this indicates these subcultures truly are different from the overall culture.

In the below table I have divided the nation into four parts meant to coincide with the dominant minority religion in that area. Along with these four regional groupings, I give the number of FICTs in each region in 2000 and 2010 and the number of white children living in these census tracts. In addition I give information for the region overall in terms of its white MPR and the average number of children a white married couple with children has.

Utah corresponds to Mormons; Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania correspond to Amish; New Jersey and New York correspond to Haredi Jews; Rest of Nation (excl. FL) corresponds to what I call the Christian Patriarchy Movement. Florida is excluded because of errors in the Census Tables.

Definitions: FICTs stands for “Fertile Intact Census Tracts”. A Census Tract is a small contiguous area meant to contain a neighborhood. A Census Tract is “Fertile” if the average married couple with children has more than 2.5 children. A Census Tract is “Intact” if more than 90% of its children live with married parents. The Census Tract must also have at least 500 children in it. “CP/FICTs” is the child population that lives in FICTs. “TCP” is the total child population in the region. “A/C” is the average number of children per married couple that has children. “MPR” is the Married Parents Ratio. All measures refer to the non-Hispanic white alone population. For more precise definitions of terms look at the definitions section for the next table.

 

FICTs

CP/FICTs

TCP

A/C

MPR

Utah – 2000 59 97,897 592,083 2.255 87.1%
Utah – 2010 75 124,425 658,151 2.283 86.7%
Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania – 2000 31 60,693 5,857,954 1.889 80.6%
Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania – 2010 39 69,013 5,201,335 1.875 76.5%
New Jersey, New York – 2000 81 109,907 3,803,049 1.884 83.7%
New Jersey, New York – 2010 111 172,136 3,271,263 1.850 82.1%
Rest of Nation (excl. FL) – 2000 14 16,096 31,755,235 1.814 80.8%
Rest of Nation (excl. FL) – 2010 33 37,493 28,759,528 1.779 78.0%
 
 
 

A/C

MPR

CP

Los Angeles County, California  CT 2140 2.989 93.6% 1,210
Bonneville County, Idaho  CT 9705.03 2.640 91.1% 1,476
Cassia County, Idaho  CT 9501 2.509 95.3% 801
Cassia County, Idaho  CT 9506 2.647 91.1% 600
Madison County, Idaho  CT 9501 2.746 93.2% 2,238
Madison County, Idaho  CT 9504 2.600 94.7% 1,590
Madison County, Idaho  CT 9505 2.607 94.4% 1,728
Cook County, Illinois  CT 1301 2.522 95.5% 571
Cook County, Illinois  CT 202 2.514 92.3% 1,006
Cook County, Illinois  CT 203.01 2.776 93.8% 978
Cook County, Illinois  CT 206.01 2.529 90.8% 993
Douglas County, Illinois  CT 9523 2.818 91.4% 1,689
Moultrie County, Illinois  CT 9769 2.524 92.3% 1,350
Buchanan County, Iowa  CT 9502 3.117 90.3% 1,307
Clayton County, Iowa  CT 705 2.643 90.4% 646
Pottawatomie County, Kansas  CT 3 3.228 90.0% 1,472
Baltimore city, Maryland  CT 2720.03 3.402 95.0% 1,378
Baltimore city, Maryland  CT 2720.05 3.096 92.6% 887
Baltimore County, Maryland  CT 4037.02 2.727 90.1% 735
Houghton County, Michigan  CT 1 2.630 90.6% 650
Oakland County, Michigan  CT 1614 3.172 96.9% 525
Oakland County, Michigan  CT 1714 3.281 92.8% 542
Wayne County, Michigan  CT 5107 3.372 92.8% 532
Wayne County, Michigan  CT 5730 2.556 91.2% 863
Audrain County, Missouri  CT 9503 2.846 92.9% 1,191
Scotland County, Missouri  CT 4801 2.723 92.4% 870
Webster County, Missouri  CT 4703.02 3.038 91.6% 1,686
Hamlin County, South Dakota  CT 9552 2.949 91.1% 1,055
Gaines County, Texas  CT 9502 2.604 94.4% 2,456
Clark County, Washington  CT 401.01 2.694 91.3% 1,669
Clark County, Washington  CT 401.02 3.100 93.3% 1,165
Clark County, Washington  CT 405.04 2.535 90.8% 1,323
Green Lake County, Wisconsin  CT 1005 2.768 90.6% 761
 

You’ll notice that every region saw increases in their number of FICTs even though the background for each region (except Utah) was negative moving farther away from 2.5 children per married couple with children and moving farther away from a MPR of 90%.  I would consider the background indicators for Utah to be neutral; their fertility indicator moved up a little bit and their MPR moved down a little bit.  Still, the proportion of Utah’s white children living in FICTs went up 14% over the decade meaning even in Utah there is evidence of a more conservative sub-culture fighting against the overall trend.

It should also be noted that the best MPRs among the FICTs improved from 2000 to 2010 in the Haredi Jew region, the Amish region, and in the Christian Patriarchy Movement region (the Mormon region of Utah stayed the same on this measure).  The top censust tract in the Haredi Jew region went from 98.9% to 99.3%; in the Amish region went from 97.6% to 98.5%; in the Christian region went from 96.0% to 96.9%.

To me the most important area to look at is the Christian, which makes up the vast majority of the country.  Haredi Jews, Amish, and Mormons are well established religious minorities able to boast of social indicators above the national norm.  The states without large groups of these religious minorities are able to show whether positive religious influences are being felt outside of the already existing religious minority groups.  I am attributing the improvements to the culture in the “nation at large” to the “Christian Patriarchy Movement.”  The Christian Patriarchy Movement is not as well established or concentrated as the other religious minority groups but it is less of a departure from America’s traditions.  The number of FICTs attributable to the Christian Patriarchy Movement is the smallest and they are spread out throughout the country but they also, I maintain, have the greatest potential for growth in the future.

In 2000 there were 14 FICTs in the “Rest of the Nation”.  They were allocated among the following states: Illinois, 2; Idaho, 4 (there are Mormons in Idaho); Maryland, 3; California, 1; Michigan, 1; Missouri, 1; South Dakota, 1; Kansas, 1.

In 2010 there were 33 FICTs in the “Rest of the Nation”.  They were allocated among the following states:  Illinois, 6; Idaho, 6; Maryland, 3; California, 1; Michigan, 5; Missouri, 3; South Dakota, 1; Kansas, 1; Texas, 1; Washington, 3; Wisconsin, 1; Iowa, 2.

The remarkable thing is that the major growth in FICTs in the “Rest of the Nation” is concentrated around the Great Lakes region in the Mid-West (with an additional surge of from 0 to 3 in the state of Washington).  Illinois went from 2 to 6; Michigan went from 1 to 5; Missouri went from 1 to 3; Iowa went from 0 to 2; Wisconsin went from 0 to 1 (Indiana is counted as an Amish state).  All these are Mid-Western states.  Aside from Washington State and the clustering in the Mid-West the only states showing increases were Idaho (from 4 to 6) and Texas (from 0 to 1).  I suspect the hard times in the Mid-West with many areas having particularly poor family indicators is the reason why the Christian Patriarchy Movement shows particular strength in this area of the country.

Below is a list of the 33 Census Tracts in the “Rest of the Nation” (excluding Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, New York,  Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah) that have at least 2.500 children per married couple family with children and a Married Parents Ratio of at least 90.0% and at least 500 children (all these measures applying to the white alone Non-Hispanic population):

Definitions:  “A/C” is the average number of children per married couple with children; “MPR” is the Married Parents Ratio, the proportion of children living with married parents; “CP” is the child population.  All measures refer to the non-Hispanic white alone population.  Regarding the “A/C” measure and the “MPR” measure it is “own children” that is being referred to.  An “own child” is the biological or adopted or step-child of the householder.  Regarding the “CP” or “Child Population” all children are included.

Sources: US Census Bureau, American FactFinder; 2000 SF1 100% Data: Tables P028I and P034I; 2010 SF1 100% Data: Tables P31I and P38I

 

— Comments —

Nicholas S. writes:

“The remarkable thing is that the major growth in FICTs in the “Rest of the Nation” is concentrated around the Great Lakes region in the Mid-West (with an additional surge of from 0 to 3 in the state of Washington). Illinois went from 2 to 6; Michigan went from 1 to 5; Missouri went from 1 to 3; Iowa went from 0 to 2; Wisconsin went from 0 to 1 (Indiana is counted as an Amish state). All these are Mid-Western states. Aside from Washington State and the clustering in the Mid-West the only states showing increases were Idaho (from 4 to 6) and Texas (from 0 to 1). I suspect the hard times in the Mid-West with many areas having particularly poor family indicators is the reason why the Christian Patriarchy Movement shows particular strength in this area of the country.”

I believe that almost all of these are due to Amish. Gaines County, TX, has seen a large influx of Hutterites recently. Hamlin County, SD, also has Hutterites. Buchanan County, IA, has a significant Amish population. This is not to say that the quiverfull or similar movements may not at some point become demographically visible, but that that point has not yet been reached.

Mr. Powell writes:

I would like to add more information on the subject of how many of the FICTs in the “Rest of Nation” are in reality affiliated with one of the already established minority religions. After doing some specific research on the subject it turns out the great majority are, though not all (that I can tell). 

In the nation overall in 2010 there were 260 FICTs containing 404,294 white children; of these 225 FICTs containing 365,574 white children were in the states of Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, or Utah. The rest of the 44 states in the nation and Washington D.C. contained 35 FICTs with 38,720 white children. 

Of the 35 FICTs in the “Rest of the Nation” I would characterize 7 as being unaffiliated or not associated with an already established minority religion. These 7 FICTs contain 9,318 white children. These 7 FICTs are:

Douglas County, Illinois CT 9523
Moultrie County, Illinois CT 9769
Pottawatomie County, Kansas CT 3
Houghton County, Michigan CT 1
Clark County, Washington CT 401.01
Clark County, Washington CT 401.02
Clark County, Washington CT 405.04

 I counted a FICT as being associated with an already established minority religion if a large minority religious population was located in either the county or city of the census tract. I must admit, 28 out of 35 FICTs located in the “Rest of the Nation” being affiliated with an already established minority religion is much more than I thought it would be. The already established minority religions of Haredi Jews, Amish, Mennonites, and Mormons are hugely more likely to produce a FICT than the rest of nation is. 

Here is the religious affiliation of the other FICTs in the “Rest of the Nation”: 

Los Angeles, California: Jewish
Idaho: Mormon
Cook County, Illinois: Jewish
Buchanan and Clayton County, Iowa: Amish
Baltimore city, Maryland: Jewish
Oakland and Wayne County, Michigan: Jewish
Audrain, Scotland, and Webster County, Missouri: Amish
Hamlin County, South Dakota: Mennonite
Gaines County, Texas: Mennonite
Green Lake County, Wisconsin: Amish
Miami, Florida: Jewish

 So, what does all this mean? About 1% of the nation’s white children live in census tracts with high fertility and highly intact families. Of this 1% of white children 98% live in census tracts based on an insular minority religion. A grand total of 2% of 1% of white children (9,318 to be exact) live in what I’d call a likely Christian Patriarchy Movement census tract. The good news is that these kinds of census tracts showed growth from 2000 to 2010 even though the overall family indicators in the nation declined.

 

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