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The Importance of High Fertility

 

JESSE POWELL writes:

What makes for a healthy community? Children. It is really quite simple. A community that invests in children is investing in the future; it is demonstrating the desire to perpetuate itself. This is not simply a worthy ideal. It is a reality apparent in the statistics of social health.

The fertility of a community turns out to be the best indicator of both current family functioning and future flourishing. High fertility is associated with both positive family outcomes in the present and change in a positive direction in the future.  A high Married Parents Ratio by itself does not indicate a positive future direction; neither does high income or other indications of economic prosperity. In this way, fertility is different; high fertility is actually a predictor of future increases in fertility as well as future increases in the Married Parents Ratio.

The point cannot be stressed enough. Fertility is the most reliable social indicator in predicting improvement in all other social indicators. In the current feminist cultural environment, social indicators are always getting worse, relentlessly and seemingly without end. High fertility areas break this rule.

Comparing the characteristics of Census Tracts from the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census, one finds that at the highest fertility levels; say the top one percent of fertility in each year; that the fertility level of this “top one percent” went up as well as the Married Parents Ratio.  To be specific, in 2000 one percent of white children lived in Census Tracts with a Global Fertility Level (GFL) of 2.365 or higher; by 2010, this threshold had climbed to 2.552 or higher.  Same thing with the Married Parents Ratio (MPR); the average MPR for white children living in the top one percent of high fertility Census Tracts was 92.53 percent in 2000 and 93.92 percent in 2010.  What this means is that Census Tracts with the highest fertility could actually expect to improve in their family indicators if they simply maintained their comparative position in regards to other Census Tracts on the measure of their Global Fertility Level.  The Global Fertility Level is the average number of own children per family with own children; both married couples and non-married parents are counted.

After studying the 2000 and the 2010 Census Tracts, I can place neighborhoods into five different categories:

1. The top category is the Source MPR; these neighborhoods are “sources” of improvement in their Married Parents Ratios.  Neighborhoods at this level of fertility on average increased in their Married Parents Ratio from 2000 to 2010.  Of white children, 2.0 percent lived in Source MPRs.  The average Married Parents Ratio for neighborhoods at this 98.0 Percentile level of fertility was 88.6 percent. The Global Fertility Level of Source MPRs is 2.292 or higher for 2010.

2.  The next category is the Area MPR; these neighborhoods are in the “area” of the Source MPRs.  The Area MPRs combined with the Source MPRs collectively had a constant Married Parents Ratio from 2000 to 2010.  In other words, the declines in MPR seen in the Area MPR neighborhoods was small enough to be covered for by the increases seen in the Source MPR neighborhoods so that overall these neighborhoods together maintained their Married Parents Ratio from 2000 to 2010. The MPR of the Area MPRs averages to 90.0 percent.  Of white children, 3.35 percent lived in Area MPRs with a Global Fertility Level of 2.091 or higher.

3.  The next category is the Source Fertility; these neighborhoods saw increases on average in their Global Fertility Level from 2000 to 2010.  Of white children, 5.3 percent lived in Source Fertilities with a GFL of 2.000 or higher.

4.  The next category is the Area Fertility; these neighborhoods saw declines in their fertility level small enough to be compensated for by the increases in fertility seen in the Source Fertility neighborhoods so that the overall fertility in the Area Fertility neighborhoods stayed the same from 2000 to 2010. Of white children, 23.35 percent lived in Area Fertilities.  The overall Global Fertility Level of the Area Fertility neighborhoods was 1.9705.  These neighborhoods had a GFL of 1.831 or higher in 2010.

5. The last category of neighborhood is Declining; these neighborhoods are declining in both their fertility and their Married Parents Ratio and their losses are not “covered” by the Source MPR and Source Fertility neighborhoods.  The fertility declines seen in the Declining neighborhoods are the source of declining fertility for the nation overall.  Of white children, 76.65 percent live in Declining neighborhoods with Global Fertility Levels of 1.830 or lower.

Brooklyn in New York City has the highest concentration of very high fertility neighborhoods in the country.  This is because of the large Ultra-Orthodox Jewish population in Brooklyn.  The largest mainstream Christian concentration of high fertility neighborhoods is in the northeast rural portion of Clark County, Washington.  This area in Clark County consists of five  contiguous Source MPR Census Tracts (Census Tracts 401.01, 401.02, 402.02, 402.03, and 405.04) that together have a white child population of 6,495 and a total population of 22,727 (94 percent of whom are white).  The Global Fertility Level of this area is 2.499 and the Married Parents Ratio is 91.6 percent.  This area is just outside of the Portland, OR-WA Urbanized Area.  I imagine this cluster of high fertility formed based on a Christian revival in the Portland area that concentrated itself in the far northern reaches just outside of the urbanized area on the Washington State side of the border north of Vancouver, WA in north east Clark County.  Yacolt, WA is the main town in this area.  This area is completely outside of the Portland, OR-WA Urbanized Area and completely outside of Vancouver, WA.  For a good map of the area, go to page two of the following nine-page PDF.

The below table applies my hierarchy of neighborhood categories to the New York City area and the Portland, Oregon area.  Nationally 2.0 percent of white children live in Source MPRs, 1.35 percent live in Area MPRs, 1.95 percent live in Source Fertilities, 18.05 percent live in Area Fertilities, and 76.65 percent live in Declinings.

Below is a table giving the proportion of white children who live in each kind of neighborhood (Census Tract) in the New York Urbanized Area (the New York – Newark, NY-NJ-CT Urbanized Area), New York City, and New York City’s five constituent boroughs.  In addition the Portland, WA-OR Urbanized Area, the city of Portland, OR, the city of Vancouver, WA, and Clark County, WA are given.

Definitions: Census Tracts are ranked according to Global Fertility Level (GFL); the total number of own children divided by the total number of families with own children.  “Pop.” means Population, the number of children in 1,000s.  “MPR” means Married Parents Ratio, the proportion of own children who live with married parents.  “S. MPR” means Source MPR with a GFL of 2.292 or higher.  “A. MPR” means Area MPR with a GFL from 2.091 to 2.291.  “S. Fer.” means Source Fertility with a GFL from 2.000 to 2.090.  “A. Fer.” Means Area Fertility with a GFL from 1.831 to 1.999.  “Dec.” means Declining with a GFL of 1.830 and below.  All numbers refer to white children; white being non-Hispanic white alone.  Census Tracts with a GFL of 5.000 or higher are excluded due to likely errors. Census Tracts with fewer than 250 white children are excluded.  Based on 2010 Census.  “New York UA” means New York Urbanized Area, the New York – Newark, NY-NJ-CT urbanized area.  “Portland UA” means Portland Urbanized Area, the Portland, OR-WA urbanized area.

Proportion of White Children by Fertility Level of Census Tract in 2010

Pop. MPR S. MPR A. MPR S. Fer. A. Fer. Dec.
New York UA 1,768 87.4% 11.4% 1.8% 2.7% 18.9% 65.2%
New York City 438 86.3% 30.9% 2.5% 0.8% 6.6% 59.1%
Bronx 21 77.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 3.0% 97.0%
Brooklyn 191 89.1% 61.1% 3.6% 0.6% 6.3% 28.3%
Manhattan 78 84.9% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2.6% 97.4%
Queens 90 84.4% 14.2% 2.5% 3.5% 9.0% 70.8%
Staten Island 59 85.2% 0.0% 2.3% 0.0% 10.5% 87.2%
Portland UA 287 76.7% 0.0% 1.2% 1.0% 10.9% 87.0%
Portland, OR 62 74.9% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2.7% 97.3%
Vancouver, WA 25 67.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 8.4% 91.6%
Clark County, WA 83 77.7% 7.9% 3.9% 3.3% 26.0% 59.0%

The New York Urbanized Area clearly has more than its share of neighborhoods which are improving in their Married Parents Ratios.  The New York UA has 151 of the 571 Census Tracts in the Source MPR category nationally (23 in New Jersey and 128 in New York State).  New Jersey has no Source MPR Census Tracts outside of the New York UA while New York State has 12.  Regarding the mainstream Christian high fertility cluster in Clark Country, WA, though it is small compared to Brooklyn there is nothing bigger than it in the entire state of California or the entire state of Texas and it does appear to be the biggest concentration of high fertility not attributable to a religious minority in the country.

High fertility is very strongly associated with a high Married Parents Ratio and a favorable comparison of 2010 to 2000.  The below table gives the range of how the Percentile of a Census Tract in its Global Fertility Level is related to the Census Tract’s Married Parents Ratio and the change of its indicators from 2000 to 2010.

Definitions:  In the first group of rows titled “1st” to “100th” the numbers represent fertility level Percentiles.  For instance the “1st” is “the 1st Percentile” and the “10th” is “the 10th Percentile.”  Each Percentile is 1% of the child population ranked according to the Global Fertility Level (GFL) of the child’s Census Tract (the GFL being the average number of own children per family with own children).  The Married Parents Ratio (MPR) is given for each Percentile and the GFL is also given for 2000 and 2010.  The MPR is calculated according to a range of GFL Percentile.  The MPR of the 1st Percentile is based on the 0 to 1 Percentile range.  TheMPR of the 10th Percentile is based on the 9 to 10 Percentile range.  The MPR of the 100th Percentile is based on the 99 to 100 Percentile range.  The Global Fertility Level given is based on an exact Percentile level.  The GFL of the 1st Percentile is the GFL at exactly the 1 Percentile level; no range is used to calculate the GFL.  In the second group of rows titled “97.0-97.5” to “99.5-100” the MPRs given are calculated according to the range explicitly indicated by the row title and the GFLs given are based on the GFL at the beginning of the specified Percentile range.  “MPR” means Married Parents Ratio, the proportion of own children who live with married parents.  “GFL” means Global Fertility Level.  All numbers refer to whites; non-Hispanic white alone.

Average Married Parents Ratio and Global Fertility Level according to GFL Percentiles of the White Child Population by Census Tract; 2000 and 2010

2000 MPR 2010 MPR 2000 GFL 2010 GFL
1st 70.00% 69.54% 1.450 1.347
10th 75.69% 72.55% 1.618 1.540
20th 77.69% 74.45% 1.672 1.614
30th 78.88% 76.31% 1.709 1.661
40th 78.78% 77.45% 1.740 1.699
50th 81.73% 78.17% 1.770 1.732
60th 82.17% 79.53% 1.800 1.764
70th 83.34% 80.75% 1.834 1.801
80th 84.67% 82.97% 1.875 1.848
90th 86.91% 84.20% 1.937 1.922
97th 88.38% 86.22% 2.082 2.128
98th 88.39% 87.03% 2.162 2.292
99th 89.53% 90.18% 2.365 2.554
100th 92.53% 93.94%
97.0 – 97.5 88.61% 86.75% 2.082 2.128
97.5 – 98.0 88.17% 87.31% 2.115 2.200
98.0 – 98.5 89.05% 89.46% 2.162 2.292
98.5 – 99.0 90.00% 90.90% 2.242 2.388
99.0 – 99.5 91.23% 92.11% 2.365 2.554
99.5 – 100 93.84% 95.76% 2.639 3.039

The above table shows a very high consistency in both a higher fertility level being associated with a high Married Parents Ratio and in a higher fertility level predicting either a smaller decline in fertility and MPR from 2000 to 2010, or if the fertility level is high enough an absolute increase in fertility and MPR from 2000 to 2010.  This last part is remarkable; it means that there is a sub-set of communities identifiable by their very high fertility that are actually improving in their social indicators as opposed to getting worse.  The cross-over point where the fertility level stops falling from 2000 to 2010 and starts increasing is at the 94.7 Percentile meaning that 5.3 percent of white children are living in Census Tracts where fertility is increasing among whites.  The cross-over point where the Married Parents Ratio stops falling from 2000 to 2010 and starts increasing is at the 98.0 Percentile meaning that 2.0 percent of white children are living in Census Tracts where the Married Parents Ratio is increasing among whites.

The below table shows the difference in distribution in quality of neighborhoods among High Fertility Census Tracts and all other Census Tracts comparing 2000 to 2010.

Definitions:  The column headings indicate the Married Parents Ratio range of the Census Tracts in the category.  “Total” refers to all Census Tracts regardless of their Global Fertility Level.  “Not HF” means Not High Fertility meaning all Census Tracts with a Global Fertility Level below 2.500.  “HF” means “High Fertility” meaning all Census Tracts with a Global Fertility Level of 2.500 or greater.  All numbers refer to whites; non-Hispanic white alone.

Married Parents Ratio Distribution by Global Fertility Level Category of Census Tract among Whites

0-60% 60-80% 80-90% 90-95% 95-100%
2000 Total 2.3% 36.3% 46.7% 13.2% 1.5%
2010 Total 5.1% 47.1% 38.2% 11.1% 0.7%
2000 Not HF 2.3% 36.5% 46.9% 13.1% 1.2%
2010 Not HF 5.2% 47.7% 38.4% 8.5% 0.2%
2000 HF 0.0% 3.7% 11.7% 34.7% 49.8%
2010 HF 0.0% 1.5% 16.3% 37.4% 44.4%

From the above table it can be seen that “bad neighborhood” Census Tracts are very rare in High Fertility communities. MPRs of below 60 percent are unheard of in High Fertility neighborhoods and MPRs below 80 percent were definitely uncommon especially in 2010. For all other neighborhoods, fully 53 percent had a Married Parents Ratio below 80 percent in 2010 and 5 percent were even below 60 percent (this is among non-Hispanic whites).  On the other end of the spectrum, very good neighborhoods with a Married Parents Ratio above 95 percent were common among High Fertility neighborhoods but almost unheard of in the non-High Fertility neighborhoods in 2010. Indeed in 2010, neighborhoods that were not High Fertility had a MPR at or above 95 percent only 0.22 percent of the time meaning that High Fertility neighborhoods were 200 times as likely to reach the 95 percent threshold.  Among all white children living in Census Tracts with a 95 percent Married Parents Ratio or higher in 2010, 70 percent lived in High Fertility neighborhoods (as compared to 1.16 percent of all white children who lived in High Fertility neighborhoods).  Among Census Tracts with a MPR of 97.5 percent or higher, there were only two with 801 white children that were not High Fertility as compared to 27 with 68,694 children that were High Fertility.  Indeed among these 27 Census Tracts, all had a Global Fertility Level of 3.053 or higher (3.053 is fertility at the 99.52 Percentile).

To better show how Married Parents Ratio numbers changed from 2000 to 2010 among the High Fertility Census Tracts, the below table gives the absolute numbers of white children in each range of MPR.  There were large gains in absolute numbers of children in High Fertility neighborhoods with an MPR of 95 percent or higher even though the proportion of all children in High Fertility neighborhoods at the 95 percent MPR level dropped.  Most striking is the huge increase in children living in neighborhoods with a MPR of 97.5 percent or higher from 2000 to 2010.

Definitions:  “Total” is the total number of white children living in Census Tracts with a Global Fertility Level of 2.500 or higher across the range of Married Parents Ratios given in the column headings.  Census Tracts with a GFL of 5.000 or higher are excluded due to likely errors.  Census Tracts with fewer than 325 white children are excluded for the year 2000; Census Tracts with fewer than 250 white children are excluded for the year 2010.  In both 2000 and 2010 5.5% of the white child population is excluded due to their Census Tracts being too small.  The column labels refer to the Married Parents Ratio range the category refers to.  All numbers refer to white children; non-Hispanic white alone.  “Change” is the change in absolute numbers from 2000 to 2010.

Number of White Children in High Fertility Census Tracts by Range of Married Parents Ratio

Total 0-60% 60-80% 80-90% 90-95% 95-100%
2000 277,450 0 10,334 32,513 96,351 138,252
2010 434,468 0 6,643 72,698 162,389 192,738
Change 157,018 0 -3,691 40,185 66,038 54,486
Total 90-92.5% 92.5-95% 95-97.5% 97.5-100%
2000 234,603 30,334 66,017 120,245 18,007
2010 355,127 39,081 123,308 124,044 68,694
Change 120,524 8,747 57,291 3,799 50,687

Looking at the United States overall, there are three main areas of low fertility among whites; the biggest is the South East or the “Bible Belt.”  In Wikipedia it states “The Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the southeastern and south-central United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation’s average.”  That being said the proportion of white children in the Bible Belt living in Source Fertility Census Tracts is very low; usually less than one percent while the national average is five percent.  The other major area of low white fertility is the West Coast; California, Oregon, and to a lesser extent Washington; there appears to be a noticeable Christian revival going on in Washington State making Washington’s numbers not so bad.  The last area of low white fertility is the extreme northeast; Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.  The states with by far the highest proportions of white children living in Source Fertility Census Tracts were Utah and Idaho due to Mormon influence.  The Farm Belt states also tended to have relatively high proportions of white children living in Source Fertility Census Tracts.  Regarding Florida; the Married Parents Ratios in Florida’s Source MPR Census Tracts are very low leading me to think there might be a racial classification problem in Florida.

For more information regarding the distribution of high fertility Census Tracts in the United States, I recommend the previous post at this website titled “Islands of Fertility in an Ocean of Demographic Decline.”

Definitions:  “WCP” is the total white child population in the state.  “MPR” is the Married Parents Ratio among whites in the state.  “Source MPR” is the number of children living in Source MPR Census Tracts with a Global Fertility Level of 2.292 or higher.  “Source Fertility” is the number of children living in Source Fertility Census Tracts with a Global Fertility Level of 2.000 or higher.  Census Tracts with a GFL of 5.000 or higher or that have fewer than 250 white children are excluded.  5.5% of white children nationally are excluded due to these measures.  All numbers refer to white children; non-Hispanic white alone.

 State Distribution of White Child Population according to Global Fertility Level of Census Tract; 2010

WCP MPR Source MPR Source Fertility
United States 39,716,562 78.1% 752,879 2,016,249
Alabama 673,641 78.7% 0 2,586
Alaska 98,333 79.1% 0 3,414
Arizona 677,752 75.4% 9,379 46,529
Arkansas 464,562 75.5% 0 0
California 2,546,395 78.4% 2,666 10,270
Colorado 710,280 79.3% 674 7,781
Connecticut 499,714 82.5% 1,199 20,724
Delaware 109,116 77.4% 0 0
District of Columbia 17,531 88.8% 0 0
Florida 1,826,285 73.8% 12,519 24,524
Georgia 1,171,406 80.1% 491 8,009
Hawaii 39,813 79.2% 0 0
Idaho 329,714 79.3% 29,347 138,671
Illinois 1,657,218 80.9% 6,587 64,554
Indiana 1,189,121 75.3% 30,703 65,978
Iowa 593,148 77.1% 5,049 59,439
Kansas 498,360 77.7% 2,853 38,516
Kentucky 828,136 73.6% 444 17,332
Louisiana 587,223 75.6% 0 2,516
Maine 247,274 70.0% 0 0
Maryland 628,452 81.7% 4,958 9,355
Massachusetts 955,342 80.3% 270 14,404
Michigan 1,609,241 77.3% 29,096 104,647
Minnesota 942,498 80.4% 7,107 72,457
Mississippi 374,041 77.6% 394 1,654
Missouri 1,061,456 75.8% 7,889 52,323
Montana 179,440 75.5% 1,089 6,914
Nebraska 332,797 79.4% 0 31,921
Nevada 262,783 73.1% 1,482 6,057
New Hampshire 252,119 75.4% 0 1,717
New Jersey 1,065,312 85.4% 40,685 62,506
New Mexico 135,962 74.6% 0 0
New York 2,205,951 80.5% 163,337 229,307
North Carolina 1,259,670 78.4% 388 16,531
North Dakota 122,321 79.1% 0 10,302
Ohio 2,028,838 75.3% 40,787 120,911
Oklahoma 519,877 74.8% 0 433
Oregon 573,013 73.4% 0 5,107
Pennsylvania 1,983,376 78.5% 41,161 122,884
Rhode Island 142,862 75.5% 0 1,126
South Carolina 596,973 77.5% 0 732
South Dakota 152,433 78.5% 2,389 21,032
Tennessee 1,013,205 76.1% 2,199 8,880
Texas 2,322,661 79.3% 3,705 17,191
Utah 658,151 86.7% 278,645 491,002
Vermont 117,664 70.6% 0 0
Virginia 1,053,065 81.0% 0 9,464
Washington 960,500 76.4% 7,746 24,719
West Virginia 349,455 72.4% 0 0
Wisconsin 984,738 77.9% 15,869 53,733
Wyoming 107,344 75.8% 1,772 8,097

Sources:

American FactFinder

2000 SF 1 100% Data Tables P028I and P034I

2010 SF 1 100% Data Tables P31I and P38I

2010 SF 1 100% Data Table DP-1

—— Comments ——

 

Diana writes:

Jesse Powell is a national treasure!
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