The Thinking 

Is There a Baby Boom among White Liberals?

October 7, 2012


IN THIS recent entry, readers discussed anecdotal evidence that a baby boom has occurred in some affluent, predominantly liberal white communities. This may be true in certain areas, but recent census figures suggest the trend is not widespread. As Jesse Powell reported previously, in the ten wealthiest zip codes discussed by Charles Murray, author of Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010, fertility and family stability all declined between 2000 and 2010. In Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, a suburban town of multi-million dollar homes large enough to accommodate families of ten in style, the number of white children went from 859 to 788 and the proportion of white children living with both of their natural parents went from 91.7 to 87.9 percent. In Chappaqua, New York, another “Super Zip Code,” the number of white children went from 3,585 to 3,355 and the proportion of those living with their own parents declined from 93.6 to 92.5 percent.

Of course, the deterioration was far worse in communities farther down on the economic scale, as has been documented here many times. However, this class divide does not represent a true cultural divide; rather it is the reflection of disparities in intelligence and inherent levels of restraint.

Murray believes that at least some stability can be returned to places where single motherhood and divorce are now common if America’s ruling classes preach the values of marriage and stigmatize illegitimacy again. As I wrote in this previous entry,

[Murray’s] notion that there is a great American divide is problematic. America’s elite does not believe in sexual restraint. It does not believe in traditional sex roles any more than America’s working classes. The well-educated simply suffer less from the consequences of the cultural revolution. How could they possibly preach what they don’t themselves endorse?

— Comments —-

Alissa writes:

 This may be true in certain areas, but recent census figures suggest the trend is not widespread.

Statistically, in general, there is no baby boom among rich white liberal communities and there has been a decline as a whole. Anecdotally, the spike in fertility rates for some of these communities is concentrated in “do as I do, not as I say” ethic. Speak liberal, live conservatively. But this “double think, double act” is not going to survive the next decades. It’s not just the traditional conservatives which are criticizing this lack of connection between philosophy and practice. Even the radical liberals hate the inconsistency of these types. The “unprincipled exception” as Lawrence Auster has written will be attacked ferosciously by the true liberal believers. And it is already being attacked.

Laura writes:

I’m not sure I follow Alissa when she refers to a lack of connection between philosophy and practice. Intelligent, successful whites do practice the principles of the sexual revolution. These are not as damaging to them because they have more restraint by nature. They are less likely to experience “unplanned” pregnancies and to divorce.

Art writes:

I agree with Alissa. I am actually surprised that this kind of hypocrisy has survived as long as it did. People should expect that the sexual revolution will spread to it’s maximum extent once the ball gets rolling.

Laura writes:

Is Art saying that the sexual revolution will bring about as much breakdown at the top as it has at the bottom and in the middle? If so, then he is very mistaken. There will always be a great deal of family stability at the top no matter how much permissiveness is accepted.

Jesse Powell writes:

I would be very interested to learn more about claims of increased fertility in upper-class white politically liberal neighborhoods. I don’t think being “liberal” by itself is that much of a barrier to increasing one’s desire for children especially if positive messages regarding children and the value of a “traditional lifestyle” are “in the air.” If one is upper-class to begin with that implies certain advantages the upper-class person has that others don’t.

By studying Census Tracts I have learned that there is a very tight correlation between fertility level and family cohesion; the higher the fertility level the higher the family cohesion. Charles Murray advocates the “Class Approach” to improving the culture; namely getting upper class people to promote their cultural values to lower class people. However, looking at neighborhoods that are merely rich one sees deterioration starting from a higher level but deterioration nonetheless. If an upper class liberal neighborhood was seeing an increase in fertility my inclination would be to think that religious influence is gaining in that area because religion already has such a strong tract record in being able to improve people’s welfare in regards to their family life. Where do positive family values come from? It is possible to form a secular based belief system consistent with positive family values but in terms of who is outspoken and actively advocating for effective moral values the religious believers far outnumber the secularists.

All this being said it can definitely be seen in the data that a significant number of Census Tracts are actually showing improvement in their family indicators; that their trend is towards higher fertility and a higher Married Parents Ratio. Because of the consistency of the trend in the data it can actually be determined precisely at what point the fertility rate starts to improve in the Census Tracts and at what point the Married Parents Ratio starts to improve. The precise Census Tracts that are a part of this overall positive trend can be identified. 3.35% of the white child population is living in Census Tracts whose fertility level is consistent with an improving Married Parents Ratio and rising fertility. 5.3% of white children are living in Census Tracts whose fertility level is consistent with rising fertility. The Global Fertility Indicator that indicates a rising Married Parents Ratio is 2.091; 2.000 indicates a rising fertility level.

Five percent of white children live in areas of rising fertility among whites; it is quite possible that upper-class politically liberal areas are included in these rising fertility places. In Manhattan there are zero children living in Census Tracts consistent with rising fertility. In Brooklyn 65% of all white children live in areas consistent with a rising Married Parents Ratio and rising fertility. The key is to find an upper-class white area with a decent number of children. It is the fertility level that is the best indicator what an area’s family situation is like.

Charles Murray fancies the idea of successful upper-class Americans “modeling” positive family behavior for the lower classes to emulate. I am not aware of this happening to any significant degree. I don’t think the positive things that are already happening are due to the “ruling class” or “the elite” at all; I think the positive changes happening are very “grass roots” and “bottom up” in nature. Charismatic and passionate religious leaders are the ones leading the charge, not intellectual secular academics. At the very least, a secular person needs to actually be against the mainstream cultural status quo before they can hope to be a part of the process of reversing the family breakdown that has accumulated over the many decades of liberal ascendancy.

Fred Owens writes:

I live near Santa Monica, in the heart of liberal/left America and I report a noticeable increase in the number of pregnant women and the number of infants in strollers. This is only anecdotal, of course. Census figures may confirm this, and thoughtful analysis may explain it. However, along with seeking to understand why this is happening, I think it is simply a blessing to have children. Many new parents are unprepared and some are unworthy, but these are babies that want to be born. God has a plan for them. And another thing — just my guess — but babies always come in groups.

Share:Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0Share on Google+0