I AM sure other commentators have remarked on the remarkable difference between the Romney and Obama families at the end of last night’s debate. The Obama daughters could not have been there because they were too young, but even if they were, it wouldn’t have made much difference. The Romneys swelled the stage, leaving the President and his wife with no choice but to be introduced to so many and blend into the crowd. On a national scale, the large family is an anomaly, but it now forms a significant and growing minority that will become more vocal with time. Almost all large families are found among white, religious minorities, including Mormons, Amish, Hasidic Jews, devout Protestants and traditional Catholics. [As a commenter points out below, this is not true. It is more accurate to say that a majority of those with large families of more than four children, families that are intact and possess a stable culture that prizes large, intact families, are among these distinct groups.]
For all their talk of collective harmony, liberals cannot produce, and will never produce, that most fundamental unit of group solidarity: the large family. [It is more accurate to say liberals cannot produce a culture that prizes and encourages large intact families.]
—– Comments ——
You state exactly my opinion. When I saw “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” all I could think is, sheesh, that looks an awful lot like my extended family. My parents have 21 grandchildren and one on the way; family gatherings are anything but boring! Truly, it takes hope to have a big family, and in today’s world the natural sources of hope have all dried up. Thus only those who are open to supernatural hope are going to be willing to have larger families.
Andrew B. writes:
If you look at Census statistics, you will see that a larger proportion of people with large families are black and hispanic. Plus, many white people with larger families are liberals.
For everyone who wants to point to small white liberal families like the Clinton’s and Obama’s, there are also Biden’s, Pelosi’s and Kennedy’s and Casey’s with larger ones. My northern suburban town is full of liberals with 3, 4, 5, and 6 kids.
Now look at the divorce rate and lack of fecundity down south across a huge part of the white demographic. We all know many, many whites with no child or one child, or who are divorced and won’t be having more.
The myth of “outbreeding” the opposition is a myth.
My point wasn’t that “conservatives” in general are outbreeding liberals, but that those distinctive minorities have the highest proportion of large families.
Also you have to balance the large number of liberal women with no children at all against the larger liberal families.
Also you mention liberal families with six children. That is a rarity, in my experience. The Pelosi’s, Biden’s, Kennedy’s, etc, tend to be one generation of large families followed by subsequent generations of smaller families. The Kennedy’s do not produce the large broods they once did.
Andrew B. responds:
I’m a traditional Catholic who is a descendant of the Amish. While the Amish are certainly growing, their overall size is miniscule – 250,000 in a country closing in on 320 million. Traditional Catholics who eschew birth control (like my wife and I) are less than 1% of the total Catholic population, and of course not all in that group have 5+ children. I mentioned my little town with our 4500 people. There are 5 families of 5+ in our parish who could be called traditional. There are at least 10 other families in town of 5+ who are lax Christians or non-believers and all of them liberal Obama support types.
Your quote was “Almost all large families are found among white, religious minorities, including Mormons, Amish, Hasidic Jews, devout Protestants and traditional Catholics.”
That simply is not so. I wish it were, but it isn’t. Those groups certainly have a very high in group ratio of large families to small families, but other than the Mormon’s, their overall numbers are insignificant in comparison to the numbers of Hispanics and blacks, or liberal whites with large families. Here are some census figures.
37.27M white women
3.35M Asian women
9.04M black women
10.85M Hispanic women
That is 37,000 white women with 7+ and 63,000 black women, 13,000 Asian women and 32,000 Hispanic women.With 5+, its 410,000 white women, 290,000 black women, 37,000 Asian women, and 282,000 Hispanic women. The majority of large families are in minority groups, and when you throw in liberal whites with large families, you can see how outnumbered we are.
Thank you for those statistics. I have been looking at the figures too.
I apologize. I will have to amend my original statement. The highest number of large families does not come from these distinctive minorities. However, the highest number of intact large families with a stable culture does.
My point in my original entry was not that conservatives would be outnumbering liberals over time. I spoke of a small but significant minority that will become more vocal with time. And I think that is true. But, yes it is not numerically superior.
You have no need to apologize. I once thought and argued the same view with many people until I was myself corrected by numbers and circumstances. I’m with you 100% on what you say below. From a small kernel of righteousness, a mighty nation can grow, and groups such as those you mention are our hope for the future. The many tens of millions of Americans descended from the couple hundred thousand colonists of the period 1607 to 1776 are proof enough of that, as are the millions of Jews around the world who are all children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The natural attractiveness of a society and culture of such white groups is obvious to anyone who visits Utah, Amish country in PA, OH, and IN, or a Latin Mass Catholic Curch. If we are leaven in society, like Christ implored us to be, God’s chosen ones will find us and join us on their own through the inspirations of God’s grace. I’ve seen it happen in my own life with myself, and with those around my wife and I, and with my children’s friends. Graciousness, reserve, patience, and generosity powerfully attract those of good will. No one can have a large intact family without those.
Jesse Powell writes:
Laura made the statement, “Almost all large families are found among white, religious minorities, including Mormons, Amish, Hasidic Jews, devout Protestants and traditional Catholics.” This statement is wrong on two counts; first, the proportion of large families is smaller among whites than it is compared to blacks or Hispanics. What is true is that the proportion of whites having large families is growing as compared to blacks, among whom it is about the same, and as compared to Hispanics, among whom it is declining. Secondly, among whites, large families can not only be found among the devout and religious minority populations but they can also be found among poor whites whose family structure is highly dysfunctional. Among whites, large families are either associated with high levels of family dysfunction or they alternately are associated with high levels of family cohesion; the high levels of family cohesion coming from religious influence.
Thank you for the clarifications and corrections.
A question for Mr. Powell: When you say large white families are associated with high levels of family dysfunction or religious influence, how do you come to that conclusion?
I have some questions about this exchange.
1. Maybe I missed the definition, but how is “large family” defined? Three kids, or four-plus?
2. How can anyone define exactly who and what a liberal is, so how can anyone say that liberal families are also having large families, however defined? (Is this a case of basically calling anyone who isn’t a traditional Catholic, Mormon, Jew, etc., a “liberal”?
3. Anecdotally, in my (liberal) neighborhood, the practice of having three kids is now the norm. I even occasionally see young white women with four kids.
I am not trying to make any points here. I’m just confused. If Andrew and Jesse Powell could clear things up I’d appreciate it. This is a crucially important subject and we need the facts.
For my own purposes, I define a “large family” as one with more than four children. When I spoke of those minorities, I was specifically thinking of families with more than four children. I should have made that clear.
Anecdotally, in my (liberal) neighborhood, the practice of having three kids is now the norm. I even occasionally see young white women with four kids.
Feminism despises young marriage. So how on earth did a “liberal woman” marry young and have four children? Not to mention minorities who reproduce, tend to have unstable family environments. There is a lot of single motherhood there. And separation. Diana do you live in an upper-middle class (UMC) neighborhood by any means? With marriage rates falling, and the age of marriage rising, I can only conclude that the liberal neighborhoods are either embracing single motherhood/illegitimacy (full of minorities) or they marry young and live traditionally despite claiming feminism as a mantle. There’s either a lot of babies with the family in shambles or the family is quite intact. I’m pretty sure that most large devout religious families are intact.
It is very possible to marry in one’s late twenties or early thirties and have four children.
It is very possible to marry in one’s late twenties or early thirties and have four children.
It is possible, but it is not common. IVF treatments are very expensive and only available to the upper-class (not the lower classes and not the middle class). Diana should explain the young woman with four children types running around. Young marriage? Ha. That’s oppressive. Everybody knows that. Unless of course these people don’t practice what they preach.
I am sure Diana lives in a relatively affluent area. There is a town near me in which many affluent women have three, four or even five children. Most of them probably married in their late twenties and many stay home with their children. However, these women tend not to be explicitly anti-feminist and tend to raise their daughters to have careers and to be highly competitive.
Remember when speaking of the low white birthrate, it must be remembered that there is a significant minority of white women who have no children at all.
I said it is “very possible” to have three or four children if one marries in one’s late twenties or early thirties. I should have noted that it is much more difficult to have that many children than if one married earlier.
Alissa asked some questions.
“With marriage rates falling, and the age of marriage rising, I can only conclude that the liberal neighborhoods are either embracing single motherhood/illegitimacy (full of minorities) or they marry young and live traditionally despite claiming feminism as a mantle.”
The latter. The most remarkable thing about this class is that they are all married, they all live “Eisenhower era rules” while also ostensibly believing in liberal pieties. [Laura writes: Not quite Eisenhower-era. Many of the women intend to go back to work and many use nannies.]
That quoted phrase has now resounded throughout the conservative blogosphere because it is such a peculiar phenomenon. Hymowitz, Sommers, etc., write about this all the time, all using that phrase: the disconnect between the affluent liberal classes psychological embrace of feminism and their practice of old-fashioned 1950s family making. Single motherhood is NOT popular amongst well-educated women. [Laura writes: These facts have been discussed here many times in former posts on marriage and illegitimacy. As I have said many times, liberals endorse models that have disastrous consequences for those who are less fortunate. It's similar to approving of historically unprecedented immigration while living in neighborhoods with no illegal immigrants.]
This is what Charles Murray is writing about in Coming Apart. It’s both heart-breaking and fascinating.
Regarding my neighborhood, it is indeed extremely prosperous. I have struggled to find the right word to describe it. I have settled on the word “prosperous.” Perhaps I should just say “rich” but in a world where billionaires set the standard as to what is rich, I say prosperous. They are all living in co-ops costing several million dollars, the husband has some great job where he is involved in directing projects that have millions of dollars at stake.
Your exchange with Alissa:
LW: “It is very possible to marry in one’s late twenties or early thirties and have four children.”
A: It is possible, but it is not common. IVF treatments are very expensive and only available to the upper-class (not the lower classes and not the middle class). Diana should explain the young woman with four children types running around.”
Laura is right, of course it’s possible. We are living in an era of extreme good health for women (some war on women!) and as for not being common, that is what we are trying to pin down here. This is a fluid situation, an interesting dynamic, and bears watching. Because NO ONE could have predicted it.
I find it interesting that modern conveniences, and modern medicine, have increased life spans, reduced infant and maternal (and all forms) of mortality – but it cannot prolong the years of peak fertility. Maybe Mother Nature is telling us something, eh?
Mr. Powell writes:
Laura asked me, “When you say large white families are associated with high levels of family dysfunction or religious influence, how do you come to that conclusion?”
When I said, “Among whites, large families are either associated with high levels of family dysfunction or they alternately are associated with high levels of family cohesion” I was wrong. I made that statement on the basis of faulty information that I now know is wrong. According to what I currently understand, high fertility among whites is associated with more intact families across the board. Looking at the fertility level of Census Tracts among whites, it is a universal rule that the higher the fertility level of the Census Tract the higher the Married Parents Ratio. There might be different explanations for what causes fertility in one area to be higher than fertility in another area but it is a universal rule that higher fertility among whites is always associated with a higher Married Parents Ratio among that white population. Most remarkable of all, the top three percent of fertile Census Tracts among whites actually saw an overall increase in their Married Parents Ratio and in their fertility level from 2000 to 2010 going from 90.14 percent to 90.42 percent in their Married Parents Ratio and from 2.082 to 2.128 in their Global Fertility Indicator.
Mr. Powell adds:
Regarding the wealthy white neighborhoods with what appears to be high fertility, the 10 “SuperZIPs” that Charles Murray championed all had below replacement fertility rates (as shown by the decrease in the number of white children in all 10 ZIP codes) and all deteriorated in their Married Parents Ratios. Not a very impressive performance. I need more information before I embrace the idea that a significant secular based cultural revival is going on.
In this previous entry, I rebut the point made by Murray that prosperous whites are doing fine in terms of family formation.