Sunday, June 29, 2008

More religious demographics from Pew: Conservative blacks and Mitt Flanders

Pew has released the second part of its series on religion in the US. Razib has a few thoughts. I'd like to add to them by pointing to some interesting things the data reveal.

- It is little wonder why the established left (major media, whiterpeople, etc) despises Evangelicals and affords Mormons nothing of the exalted status given to other minority groups--these two groups tend to vote Republican. And their members are the only ones who do so out of the fourteen religious affiliations Pew profiled. The percentage of an affiliation's members who are either Republican or lean Republican compared to the number of its members who are either Democratic or lean Democratic (if 9 members are Republicans and 10 are Democrats, it's displayed as 90%):

Religious affiliationRep / Dem
Mainline Protestant95.3%
Orthodox Christian70.0%
Jehovah's Witness66.7%
Other Christian45.5%
Other faith19.7%
Historically black12.8%

The more multicultural we become, the better off the Democratic party becomes. The understanding of the US as a Christian nation is antithetical to Democratic electoral dominance.

Aside from their theological beliefs and the minority that accepts polygamy as a legitimate family structure, Mormons epitomize the American conservative ideal: Married, firmly middle class baby makers whose communities are characterized by relative equality, both economically and educationally.

- It can be shown that the characterization of Mormons as solidly middle class is appropriate from the report. Looking first at the economic situation using the broad definition encompassing households with annual incomes between $30,000 and $100,000 as George Will does, the percentage of each affiliation's members who are middle class:

Religious Affiliations$30k-$100k
Mainline Protestant54%
Other faith54%
Orthodox Christian52%
Jehovah's Witness49%
Other Christian48%
Historically black45%

Hindus and Jews are at the bottom because they are so highly represented in the $100k-plus category (43% and 46%, respectively).

Similarly, to gauge middling educational attainment, the percentage of each affiliation's members who've at least graduated high school and gone on to attempt some college and at most have received a bachelor's degree but have not completed post-graduate work:

Religious affiliationHS, no PG
Orthodox Christian50%
Other faith47%
Other Christian46%
Mainline Protestant43%
Historically black36%
Jehovah's Witness27%

Again, Hindus and Jews do not typify the middle class because they sail above it, with high post-graduate representation (48% and 35%, respectively).

- Whenever I find myself in casual conversation with a Witness, I usually make some comment about how remarkable Witnesses were in Nazi Germany, essentially being the only group persecuted who voluntarily chose to be so. It earns a few innocuous PC points (the only kind I'll take!) and provides an opportunity for the Witness to talk about his religious beliefs, something he's usually more than happy to do. I don't find that eagerness surprising, as the lives of Witnesses are in my experience more religiously-directed than members of any other affiliation.

Understanding that Witnesses tend to be poorer, less educated, and less white (only 48% are according to the report, and other sources put it around 40%) than the nation as a whole, this religious focus nevertheless comes at the expense of secular engagement. Jehovah's Witnesses are really out there. When asked about their party affiliation ("Independent" was an option in addition to Republican or Democrat), 61% of Witnesses refused to answer or said they didn't know. No other group comes close to that figure. Muslims, at 16%, are a very distant second in their level of disengagement.

- A good friend carries with him the slogan "I'm forever a conservative before a Republican". I strive to be an objectivist before either. What does the report tell us about the relationship between political affiliation and political ideology? The percentage of an affiliation's members who are either conservative or very conservative compared to the number of its members who are either Republican or lean Republican (if 9 members are conservative and 10 are Republicans, it's displayed as 90%):

Religious affiliationCon / Rep
Historically black350.0%
Jehovah's Witness210.0%
Other faith92.3%
Mainline Protestant87.8%
Orthodox Christian85.7%
Other Christian80.0%

Blacks are clearly the most likely to consider themselves politically conservative while still consistently voting Democratic. Members of historically black churches are as likely to consider themselves conservative (35%) as they are to consider themselves moderate (36%) and nearly twice as likely to consider themselves conservative as they are to consider themselves liberal (21%).

This trend is almost exactly reversed among Jews, who embody the sentiments of whiterpeople better than any other affiliation does. They are as likely to be liberal (38%) as they are to be moderate (39%), and twice as likely to be liberal as they are to be conservative (21%). This despite the fact that black church members are more likely to vote Democratic (78%) than Jews are (65%).

There was a time I thought the potential for blacks moving closer to the Republican party existed. I knew from the guys I played basketball with that stark gender distinctions, a premium on monetary success and male masculinity, and (extended) family orientation (ie, family reunions lasting several days) are all held in high regard in the black community. When focused on it, blacks tend to be merciless in ridiculing whiterpeople social causes like vegetarianism, opposition to dog fighting (that one can really set them on fire), and pussy Prius cars. Environmentalism is viewed as borderline racism (that is, it is perceived as anti-black). Not surprisingly, members of historically blacks churches are the most likely of all fourteen groups to say that stricter environmental laws cost too many jobs and hurt the economy rather than being worth the cost (Jews are the least likely to hold that opinion). I've also been told on multiple occasions that fags go to Dave Matthews Band concerts.

But black tribalism, the pull of government handouts (black church members are the most likely of the fourteen to support a bigger government that provides more services), and the belief that Republicans are out to get them precludes any shifting. So does the racial alignment of politics in the South. Even though Democratic-voting whiterpeople are objects of derision more than middle class suburban and rural whites are, Republicans are seen as the oppressive white party.

Notice that this conservative-but-not-Republican phenomenon is second and third highest, respectively, among Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims. Muslims are the second blackest group profiled and Witnesses are the third blackest.

This really works out well for Obama. In contrast to black leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, Obama has the highbrow attributes whiterpeople love. Blacks on the street would prefer someone more 'authentic' than Obama if the option existed, but since it doesn't, being (half) black is good enough. He is able to get both the black vote through racial solidarity and the whiterpeople vote through leftist politics.

- Relative economic equality is arguably the second most important determinant of happiness next to physical health. A perceived lack of equality creates an urge to force greater equality.

This is borne out even at the relgious level. As measured by the percentage of an affiliation's members who annually either make less than $30,000 or more than $100,000, the correlation between income inequality and support for a bigger government providing more services is .48. Even if some members of the more disparate groups aren't fond of redistributionist government policies, they tend to vote against politicians who claim they aren't, either. The correlation between income inequality and voting Republican is an inverse .57. Nothing new there.

Libertarians who flippantly dismiss concerns about economic inequality or even embrace it in arguments over trade, immigration, the Federal minimum wage, and the like are engaging in acts of political self-immolation. Economic inequality increases support for so many of the things they oppose. In the words of Randall Parker:

I continue to be amazed at libertarians who favor the immigration of people who will vote for highly anti-libertarian policies.
We should strive for as much parity as is possible without having to resort to forced redistribution. Our immigration policies should increase the size of the high IQ, professional class so they are able to come up with better product designs and ways of doing things while keeping one another's earnings in check. They should also restrict the size of the lower IQ, less skilled working classes to keep their wages from being depressed due to a surplus of supply. The tax structure should encourage the wealthy to have more children and the poor to have fewer. Spreading the wealth of the affluent across several children while concentrating the limited means of the poor across as few as possible is an easy way to reduce the wealth gap from the get-go.

- Support for abortion and distaste for children go hand in hand. The relationship between pro-choice sentiments (always legal or mostly legal) and children at home is an inverse .63.

Those affiliations most hostile to abortion are also the affiliations whose members are most likely to have children of their own. Go figure!

- Also from the no-surprise department, Mormons are the least likely to have never been married (12%). Members of black churches are the most likely to have never been (34%).

- One of the most intriguing ideas bandied about by Steve Sailer (and that's saying a lot) concerns what he calls a return to patriarchy. Conservatives are having more children than liberals are, and thus will have a greater influence in the future than they do today. The phenomenon isn't just at work among whites in the US, but also at the national level, with the liberal West only able to muster a couple of countries with total fertility rates at or above replenishment--the US and Israel (and in both places, those of European ancestry are not the driving force behind the fertility).

Arthur Brooks claimed that this trend bodes well for Republicans going forward. Half Sigma proved Brooks wrong, showing that Democrats actually have slightly more children on average than Republicans do. White Republicans have more children than white Democrats do, but Hispanics are the most fertile racial/ethnic group in the country, and they vote Democratic by a margin of almost 2 to 1. Blacks are the second most fertile group, and they vote Democratic by a margin of more than 9 to 1. Brooks would've been wiser to have said conservatives have more children than liberals do.

We see the same thing when looking at religious groups in the US. The correlation between the percentage of an affiliation considering itself liberal and the average number of children it has living at home is an inverse .56. Conservative affiliations are having the kids, liberal affiliations are not. Yet the relationship between supporting Democrats (rather than being liberal) and having children at home falls outside of statistical significance even at only 80% confidence.

Why? It's not Democrats per se, but liberals who aren't making babies. Affiliations that vote heavily Democratic but who are not heavily liberal, like members of historically black churches and Muslims, are having more kids than most of the other groups, while liberal (and Democratic) affiliations like Jews and "other Christians" are having fewer.

The future looks good for the Democratic party, but it will shift in the direction of greater emphasis on wealth transfers and special benefits for 'disadvantaged' groups at the expense of whiterpeople social causes like environmental protection and the development of sustainable energy sources.

- Who does the most procreating? The survey only inquired about the number of children under the age of 18 living at home, not total fertility. Those with four or more kids under the roof are grouped into a single 4+ category. Following is a fecundity index computed by taking the percentage of an affiliation with X number of children and multiplying it by X, then adding each of these figures up and multiplying by 100 for an index total. So a group where 5% of the members have one kid, 10% have two, 2% have three, and 1% have four or more comes to 35 (5*1+10*2+2*3+1*4). I assumed that those with four or more kids had exactly four for lack of a way to be any more precise:

Religious affiliationFecundity index
Jehovah's Witness72
Historically black71
Orthodox Christian56
Other Christian56
Mainline Protestant55
Other faith52

Mormons get it done. Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Lutherans--the "mainline Protestants--are near the bottom. Pentecostals, Baptists, and Adventists--the Evangelicals--are more middling, while Catholics (in large part due to the Hispanic contingent) sustain the stereotype about having lots of kids.

- Finally, it is curious that Mainline Protestants are outnumbered by Evangelicals (Protestants) nearly 2-to-3. They are a the mainstream minority among Protestants, apparently. "Evangelical" has always struck me as an imprecise term. I guess it insinuates an even stronger focus on the Gospels as well as greater emphasis in "spreading the good news" than non-Evangelical Protestantism or Catholicism, but definitionally the lines are blurred. Respondents who identified themselves as belonging to the Evangelical Church of America (ELCA), of which I am part, for example, are classified not as Evangelicals but as Mainline Protestants, while members of the Missouri Synod (the second largest Lutheran group in the US) are counted as Evangelicals and not Mainline Protestants.

The easiest way to separate the two for the purposes of the Pew report is to think of mainline Protestants as those outside the broad South (including Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and parts of Ohio and Illinois) and Evangelicals as heavily concentrated there.

If interested, please also see my post on the first report of the series.


Sleep said...

Excellent, excellent post. Thank you for giving me something to read. All I really have to say is, I find it amusing that 21% of atheists believe in God.

Fat Knowledge said...


Couple of thoughts.

1) I find the analysis of demographics and political parties to be too static. They assume that what the Democratic and Republican parties stand for won't change as demographics do. I think both parties will change as they need to, and both will on average get 50% of the vote over time. If the Republicans start losing elections, they will change their platform to better attract the growing demographics or nominate more black and Hispanic candidates to get more of those demographics to vote for them.

The more interesting question to me is how the changing of demographics will change what we think of as the political middle and the definitions of what conservative and liberal mean. For example, I think the conservative party in Britain is more liberal than the Democratic party is in the US.

2) Along with that, do you know how likely the children of conservatives are to remain conservatives (or the same question with liberals)?

3) If I understand you correctly, you would like to see greater income equality as that leads to greater happiness. But, you don't want to see that done through redistribution. Do you believe that greater income equality through redistribution doesn't increase happiness, or do you oppose it for some other reason?

Some believe that greater economic growth goes hand in hand with greater inequality. Do you believe that, and if so are you willing to give up greater economic growth for greater equality?

4) The tax structure should encourage the wealthy to have more children and the poor to have fewer.

What are you proposing and how much of an impact do you think it would have?

I think this is an interesting idea, but I just can't see a tax break that would be big enough to cause high income individuals to have extra children. Some time ago I saw a break down on how much parents are likely to spend on children from age 0-18 broken down by income, and I remember correctly, high income people spend over $1 million per child while low income spend much less(sure wish I could remember where I read that). Are you suggesting having a tax break that is close to what these parents are willing to spend on raising the children? Or better stated a regressive tax break that gives more money to rich people to raise their kids than you would for poor people?

And beyond the money, I would think rich parents don't want lots of kids because of the time commitment and how it would stop them from spending more time at work or other pursuits. No tax break can help you there and my guess is that this is the key determinant in family size for the rich.

And, I think that for lots of low income people, it is having children young that causes them to be poor. That their lack of long term planning leads itself to having children before they are ready. I don't think changing the tax structure will impact how many kids they have, because if they really were thinking this out rationally they wouldn't be having so many kids to begin with.

But, maybe you reason to believe that the impact would be greater than I would guess.

BGC said...

Excellent indeed - A whole book's worth of insight, analysis and intellectual stimulus in a single blog posting!

Danny Haszard said...

The big difference between Jehovah's Witnesses and Christians is that the Watchtower Society's central core creed proclaims Jesus second coming in October 1914.

They sometimes try to obscure this failed prophecy,and say that he came 'invisibly'.Yes,all other Christains are awaiting Jesus return,the JW say he ALREADY came back in 1914 and is only working through their Watchtower society.

Jehovah's Witnesses have lost membership in all countries with major internet access because their false doctrines and harmful practices are exposed on the modern information superhighway.
The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world.
Danny Haszard

Jason Malloy said...

Jehovah's Witnesses are really out there. When asked about their party affiliation ("Independent" was an option in addition to Republican or Democrat), 61% of Witnesses refused to answer or said they didn't know. No other group comes close to that figure.

Jehovah's Witnesses are religiously discouraged from adopting political opinions.

Audacious Epigone said...


Yes, and a small sliver even believe they have a personal relationship with God, which I regard as being a pretty unadulterated relgious belief, but I suppose you're always going to run into definitional issues around the margins, especially when the answers given are self-descriptive.


1) That's the strategy their adopting now, but the numbers aren't there, not even close. From '96 to '04, Republicans picked up 1.3 million Hispanic votes, something the WSJ op/ed board likes to point out. But what they don't point out is over the same period of time, the GOP also gained more than 11 million white votes.

But to stop my whining and address the broader point, what you say makes sense from a purely partisan perspective. I remember well a simple diagram from my government teacher. He depicted a horizontal line with very leftist and the left and very rightist on the right, and varying degrees in the middle. Effectively under a two-party system, whichever candidate is on the right takes all the vote to the right, and same for the person on the left, and they fight over the middle. So the idea is to get as close to the center as possible, tracking it as it moves, but still be able to claim being closer to one side than the other guy. Simple and generalized, but it's not bad as conceptual framework.

Re: Britain's conservative party, yes, I think you're right on most major non-economic issues.

2) Arthur Brooks, in the column referenced, claimed it to be 80%. 75% was sticking in my head from having been read elsewhere, but I can't recall what the source was.

3) Wealth redistribution slows down economic growth. It would be better to have efficient equality than inefficient equality, ceteris paribus, I think.

Re: growth and wealth, I suppose you could argue that a Nader-esque maximum wage would reduce the Gini coefficient by pushing the top down, but the biggest wealth disparities in the world exist in Africa and South America (those two continents dominate the top of the list). Wealthy countries tend to have more equitable wealth distributions.

4) Easier said that done. I'm doing the easy thing, just waxing on what I'd like to see happen. The conventional wisdom is that pro-natalist policies aren't that effective. The French say what they've tried has led to an increase in birthing, but with murky demographics, it's hard to feel much confidence in that. Spain does provide a modern example though. I'm crunched at the moment, so I'm going off memory and well amend if I'm off here, but I believe under Franco (and his government's pro-natalist policies/propaganda) as late as the seventies Spain was well above replenishment, then rapidly fell in just a few years to a TFR under 2.

A place to start in the US would be to ax the EITC and make the child tax credit progressive rather than regressive in nature. Why should couples who make over $110k jointly start losing out on the credit? Why not start it at $110k and increase it steadily upward as income rises. I see no problem saving someone with a seven figure income $10k a year for each kid he has. That's $180k over a couple of decades. Almost certainly the rich kid is costing the couple more than that.

I don't see why we should want to subsidize those with little to no earned income who have children, however, which is what both the EITC and the child tax credit currently do.


Wow, you're way too kind. I should be saying that about you and your recent courageous article in Medical Hypotheses.


I'd like to see the data broken down on other groups theologically discouraged from political participation. Do you think Friends are anywhere near as politically oblivious as Witnesses are?

Sleep said...

Because you cant take away a couple's right to raise children, or a child's right to be raised in a healthy environment. Child tax credits benefit the poor because it's only the poor children who need them. I guarantee you that at least 90% of Americans from all income brackets will agree with me here, and just because it isn't eugenically correct doesn't mean it isn't a moral obligation.

BGC said...

When it comes to policies that might reverse current 'dysgenic' trends (eg in IQ); it is interesting that the two alternatives are at opposite political poles.

The 'natural' solution involves attempts to restore 'eugenic' patterns of reproduction - which is what the AE is attempting with maipulations of the tax system. Or there might be an attempt to induce a kind of religious revival or moral change - so that pro-natalist views became more common among high IQ people.

Such views are mostly associated with the political right - especially since Mormons are probably the only people who are reproducing eugenically in the whole modern world (the richest Mormons have the most children, and Mormons are active in the modern world - unlike ultra-Orthodox Jews or Amish)

The alternative is to aim at technological solutions - in a nutshell 'genetic engineering' in its various manifestations. So that bad genes can be eliminated and good genes inserted (or invented) to reverse 'dysgenic' trends and enable 'eugenic' reproduction (most likely by individual parental choice - in a libertarian way).

These genetic engineering views are libertarian, and perhaps more often found on the left of the political spectrum than the right (although pro-market libertarians are probably the most pro-genetic-engineering).

So the two potential ways to reverse dysgenic trends are religious conservatism and a kind of 'transhumanism'. While both methods are compatible in theory; conservative religious people are usually against genetic engineering and transhumanists usually regard religion as nonsense. So these two 'eugenic' groups are usually opposed, and it is hard to imagine them united around a common policy.

I must say that neither of these seem to me very likely to happen - although genetic engineering seems more probable, in the long-ish term. Because there is an inverse correlation between religiousness and IQ, the future population growth will tend to be more religious and less intelligent. (Again Mormons are the exception - and for this reason I would expect US Mormons to occupy an increasing proportion of elite intellectual positions - so Harry Reid and Mitt Romney may be the shape of things to come).

But the most likely future is a (continued) lowering of average IQ and a deterioration of personality (eg. lower average levels of traits of conscientiousness and agreeableness). I would regard this as certain, but what is uncertain is the degree and rapidity of these changes - and the effects thay will have. But I fear that a modernizing society (based around continued economic growth and progress in science and technology - and implicitly with rule of law) may not be possible if IQ and personality averages deteriorate too far.

Matt said...

I found the post extremely interesting. Bruce's (BCG) comment was also interesting in that I had never considered the idea that the richest Mormons tend to have the most kids. I am Mormon, not rich, but I have a lot of education, and my wife is over-due to have our 6th kid. I think there may be some correlation, certainly the Church teaches that you should get all the education you can, whether that is med school, or technical school to rebuild diesel injectors. The church also teaches that children are a blessing, and one should have as many as they can afford.

Those two teachings lead the most observant Mormons to get a college education, make some money, and have relatively large families.

My mom and dad weren't super active Mormons until they reached their 30's Dad had a batchelor's degree, and Mom went back to school and got a batchelor's degree at about age 40. Dad got a master's degree at age 50. They have 4 kids, one with a law degree and the other three have master's degrees in engineering or microbiology. One kid went to and Ivy League school, and she has 3 kids. She also supports Obama.

The rest of us are extremely right wing, and have 5 kids each, soon to be 6 for me. The reason for the long comment is to illustrate that contrary to most people, in our tiny sample, more education did not lead to fewer kids, and I attribute most of that to being mormon, with some being attributed to being conservative.


Audacious Epigone said...


You're right that public sentiment is in your favor, and offering disincentives (especially government-sponsored) of any kind to the impoverished to have fewer children is going to bring a fair share of visceral condemnation, no matter how well-intentioned (see Project Prevention, for example).

This sentence, though, in many situations constitutes two rights that are mutually exclusive:

You cant take away a couple's right to raise children, or a child's right to be raised in a healthy environment.

Sometimes respecting the former makes the latter impossible. In that situation, why not try to prevent an unnecessary conflict that will be bad news for everyone involved?


What if genetic engineering (and I think embryo selection through IVF will become mainstream long before the g-e technology is there) allows the religious to create more pious children (IVF would allow the same, less precisely)? Would parents willingly pass on that opportunity in reference to their religious beliefs?

Also, will pro-natalism require a paradigmatic cultural shift, or will it gradually reemerge through current fertility patterns? It seems plauisble to me that people most desirous of children are (relatively) likely to have children who in turn grow up to want children of their own. As the size of the procreative, pious population grows, so then will the TFR. I haven't seen this question addressed scientifically yet, though. I wonder if there are questions in the GSS about how many siblings and also how many children a person has (or plans to have)?


Your family strikes me as epitomizing the American ideal. Thanks for sharing your story. The more I learn about the contemporary Mormon community, the more I respect and admire it. Congratulations on the sixth blessing.

Brent Lane said...

fat knowledge said:

"If the Republicans start losing elections, they will change their platform to better attract the growing demographics or nominate more black and Hispanic candidates to get more of those demographics to vote for them."

An important observation, and one that dovetails with an opinion I've been formulating recently, which others have probably already concluded: the two major political parties in the US are no longer ideological entities, but rather "brands".

In other words, platforms, policies, even core values, are being 'improved' in order to attract more 'buyers' in the political marketplace. I suppose to a certain extent that's always been the case, but it seems to me to have become more and more the way party leaders think (especially on the Republican side).

Justin Halter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Halter said...

To clarify one thing: the "evangelical" category is just a code word for theological conservatives. It is correlated with geographical region, as you noticed, but its definition is cultural.

Also, while Mormons do seem to represent the demographic salvation of the white race, their long-term prospects are not all good. They have one of the highest apostasy rates (change in childhood religion) of all American Christian religions, a full 76% greater than Baptists, for example.

On a less empirical note, they do produce lots of cute blondes, as long as you don't mind your women on anti-depressants! Plus, you have to join their cult to get the cuties, as they have the highest in-marriage rate in the nation (84%).

Fat Knowledge said...


I am impressed that you are still able to respond to all comments even when you are crunched for time. Well done!

Regarding income equality and growth, I guess I look at the list of the countries with the lowest Gini coefficient (lowest inequality) and high levels of GDP per capita and see that they are all northern European countries with high levels of income redistribution. Countries with less redistribution but strong growth like the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and China all have much higher levels. So, I conclude that if you want more equality you ought to look at the Northern European model.

But, maybe you are thinking more of the Japanese and South Korean model, where inequality is still low, but is done with less redistribution and less immigration.

A place to start in the US would be to ax the EITC and make the child tax credit progressive rather than regressive in nature.

Don't you mean the opposite? Progressive means helping those with less income more, does it not? You are talking flattening out the taxes or making them more regressive, right?

And are you taking Farewell to Alms as your model, where you want those that are successful/educated/rich to have more children and those that aren't to have less?

I can see the argument for it, but to really make it work, wouldn't you want to cut off all help to those that are poor and raising children, to really try and stop them from having kids? No food stamps, no welfare, no churches or charities helping the poor. Make it really bad for them, so that they have as few kids as possible.

While I could see how after a few generations the population would be made up with people with better genes/habits for success, I am with Sleep that this is really brutal and I can't see a high percentage of American's supporting it.

Audacious Epigone said...


Neat way of framing it. Thanks.


What I mean by a progressive credit is one that increases as income increases. That's not the lingo that is generally used, I know, but I'm trying to change that single-handedly because I think it is confusing to call it regressive as it gets bigger.

Re: the sell, yes, it's a tough one. It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing though. Voluntary positive eugenic policies are the most politically palatable, involuntary negative ones the least so. Even if the child tax credit isn't decreased for lower income brackets, increasing it markedly for higher income brackets might not be an impossible sell.

Re: inequality, there is a trade-off, but I'm interested in long-term viability as well. Do you think Sweden's current entitlement structure can exist in perpetuity? If the US' demographics were similar to Sweden's, our gini would be lower than it is. New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wyoming, Wisconsin--these are the states where wealth distribution fits right in the middle of the European pack. It is in places like DC and the South that we're in the mid .4s and up.


With an inmarriage rate of 84%, without considering apostasy rates to Mormonism, we're still looking at a TFR of around 2 (going off Utah's TFR as a proxy for Mormons in general), assuming the apostates have no children at all. Don't know if TFR patterns will stay the same going forward, but they still look like they're in pretty good shape to me.

BGC said...

If I am allowed to be politically-unrealistic - one tax idea could be that women are allowed tax allowances for all child-related expenses (including childcare and schooling, clothes and food).

For a woman who was earning a lot of money (and paying a lot of taxes) this would mean that she could have kids without incurring _any_extra costs at all.

The amount of help would, by this method, be proportionate to the earning-capacity of the woman - which might be regarded as promoting genetically-adaptive patterns of reproduction?


Audacious Epigone said...


Through the issuance of a debit card or something similar? Or are you thinking along the lines of itemized reimbursement? If the program simply gave a stipend based on the presumed amount required for child-rearing expenses, we'd be in the same place we are now. It doesn't take much digging to find a news item about foster parents housing children in squalid conditions and making bank from the state.

BGC said...

AE - it isn't going to happen, so it isn't really worth thinking about the logistics.

And foster parents are hugely different from biological parents. Biological parents nearly always lavish resources on their kids - except for an handful of psychopaths and mentally-ill or drugged people.

I got the idea for total tax credits from the UK government, which introduced a scheme for about 400 dollars per month of tax credits towards nursery education which could be spent at any accredited provider.

(Yes, it is basically a voucher scheme - and nobody noticed! - because there was no unionized public sector constituency in nursery education to make a fuss.)

Initially I thought - this is pretty strange, to be subsidizing nursery education but only for tax payers (ie. wealthier families) - then I thought - maybe that was the point of it? A little bit of covert eugenics, perhaps?

More likely it was to focus the rebate on working mothers rather than full time mothers.

SFG said...

Epgone--great post. You should write a book. It'd never get published though. I wish you and Inductivist and Half Sigma would get together and write a Politically Incorrect Guide to American Sociology or something.

Have you tried looking at urbanization? Jews are super-urbanized (they concentrate in the most populated cities of the country), whereas the reverse is true for evangelicals.

'Evangelical' refers to a theologically conservative Christian (who is not as conservative as a 'fundamentalist'), BTW. Technically, I believe, all Christians are called to spread the Good News...

Anonymous said...

To add an anecdote to the mix, this is from my Mormon family of the 1970s and 1980s.

Mother's side
Uncle1: 8 children
Mother: 4 children
Uncle2: 4 children
Aunt: 6 children
Uncle3: 5 children
Total: 27 children

Father's Side:
Uncle1: 6 children
Aunt1: 5 children
Aunt2: 3 children
Father: 6 children (yes, I know it doesn't match with my mother)
Aunt3: 5 children
Total: 25 children

Even more remarkable, only a handful of those people (including myself) are not currently active Mormons.

The current generation is somewhat smaller, but among the older cousins, most have 3-4 children. The younger ones are still working on it.

Audacious Epigone said...


HS and the Inductivist would have to carry most of the weight, weilding the GSS like they do. It wouldn't get published, and if it did, it'd have to be lucrative enough to support me for awhile, I think!

Blacks are urbanized, too, but on most things they take a quite different perspective than Jews, with one exception (that causes plenty of tension)--they both vote heavily Democratic. Pew didn't ask about geographically location (rural, suburban, urban).

Hehe, and even I'm not that ignorant--I know all Christians are supposed to spread the good news, but I wondered about how much emphasis is put on evangelizing.


Going through the survey questions again, your anecdote made me think of another interesting data bit. I'll post on it soon.

icr said...

I can't help but be intrigued by the the idea of enhanced dog-fighting penalties as a potential wedge issue against the Dems. There are plenty of lefty white women who would come perilously close to supporting the death penalty when it comes to prosecuting dog-fighters. Something that might come in handy for some candidate on the state or local level, who knows?

Audacious Epigone said...


I consider myself reasonably 'in touch' with the cultural and political sentiments of working-class blacks, but was taken by surprise at the intensity and uniformity of black opinion on dog fighting (at least among black men). It really hits close to home. Similar to the crack/powder cocaine issue, in that while it doesn't effect the majority of blacks directly, it's still seen as targeting them ("What's the difference of drowning a dog and shooting a deer? We do one, y'all do the other!").

Superdestroyer said...


Any change that the Republicans could do to attract more blacks and Hispanics actually loses more white voters than it gains with minority voters. Look at President Bush's attempt to pander to Hispanic voters. It gained few if any Hispanic voters but alienated many white voters.

It is much more like as as the U.S. become more diverse that it will become a one party state. Look at NYC, DC, LA, SF, Chicago, etc. All are very diverse and all are effectively one party states.

Future elections will be about different demographic groups fighting over government benefits. One party is more than enough for this.

If you really believe that the Republicans can make a comeback please explain who they will become the majority party in Califorinai again. I doubt anyone can come up with a realistic scenerio

Whiskey said...

Audacious Epigone --

Came here off Half Sigma's link.

Oddly enough, I blogged about one of the issues I think you missed.

1. America is a Senior Nation.

2. As Steve Sailer points out, what happens as Whites decline relative to other groups?

For the first, certainly as America ages, youth gets shoved aside by older people in sheer numbers. There are 8 million more seniors than youths. Numbers matter, and seniors want things that youth does not. Seniors cannot abide crime, insecurity, "whiterpeople" status mongering. A man of 65 is not looking to up his status by having the "correct" politics that will get him laid. He doesn't want to get mugged by a young (most likely to be minority) man.

Republicans have a built-in advantage in crime, as seniors are the most affected and there are both more of them, and far more that vote. See my post on why Obama can't win with the youth vote. [Bottom line, youth votes under 50% and 75%+ of seniors vote, in the 2004 election which was typical.]

The Republican "winning" coalition would be appeals to seniors and people in their thirties/forties who are homeowners, heads of households, etc. Law and order, morality, wage/job growth, and so on.

For the second, how long can Affirmative Action and other policies that hurt whites to benefit other groups, chiefly blacks and hispanics, maintain support? Yes "whiterpeople" like it, but it doesn't affect them. We have not had a serious, major, lasting recession/depression with Affirmative Action. Imagine 1936 with Blacks and Hispanics favored over whites, and whites making up only say 70% of the population. How much support would THAT kind of policy have? We are just as likely to see racial lines being drawn in political parties, with most whites in the Republican party and most Blacks/Hispanics in the Democratic Party. Already the voting in the Democratic primaries in PA, OH, WV show that pattern. Are there enough "whiterpeople" to make the current Dem electoral coalition possible? Probably not, the WSJ says that blue collar white men at 25% of the electorate is still the biggest slice.

Audacious Epigone said...


We're of the same mind on the where the major parties are going in terms of racial demography--the same way they've been going for years.

Re: seniors, the correlation between age and propensity to vote Republican is steady but weak. Whites make up a much larger share of the 65+ population than they do of the 35-under population. But various types of entitlement programs (look, for example, at how left-wing the AARP is)--social security, medicare, etc will work to counteract the "get control of the ruffians" urge.

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Orochi said...


1)While your voting observations of Blacks are interesting, some of your so-called "social" observations are clearly generalized and stereotypical, especially seeing as education and work ethic are two things which are especially esteemed.

2) I think your point on Blacks viewing Environmentalism as borderline racist smacks of the lack of social context common in many detached observations. What most if not all of us are opposed to is Environmental Elitism, which in turn fostered Environmental Racism, a well-documented history of enacting policies that negatively impacted minority and low-income communities, many of which the Black Church was actively involved in. Perhaps you should acquaint yourself with the PCB Landfill Case in Warren County, North Carolina, or the Altgeld Gardens community of Chicago. Or, take a walk down Cancer Alley in Louisiana.

3) In further reference to your claims on historically Black churches, I think some context is clearly needed, since most black churches, due to their locations would naturally would have faced expenses that jewish communities would not have. Also, you mentioned their opposition wasn't "surprising". Was this highlighting the well-known policy of these same early organizations refusing to hire or include minorities and other working class from these organizations?

Was it the obvious choice made by these organizations to abandon environmental concerns of inner-city minorities as a lost cause, often turning these locations into the trash bin for hazardous wastes? Or was it the open complicity of those organizations with the NIMBY policy, which overwhelmingly afflicted minority and low-income communities? Again, a clear lack of research shows a void in your so-called "insights", especially in terms of Environmental ones.

3) Continuing, your ignorance on Black cultural diversity in America shows again through stereotypical portrayals of Blacks "ridiculing social causes like Vegetarianism". Perhaps if you actually researched your claims you'd find a wealth of vegetarian and vegan societies and online communities for Blacks and other people of color - even a black vegetarian/vegan dating site called "Naptural Love"- that exist. Note also that figures ranging from Erykah Badhu to Hank Aaron and even Rosa Parks embraced vegetarianism.

4) As a side note, given the lack of representation of Black artists in Rock and Roll- despite the clear influence of figureheads like Bo Diddly and Chuck Berry- I'd doubt any Black cognizant of the DMB - especially seeing as three of the permanent members were Black - would call you a fag for attending, any more than they'd call you one for attending a Jimi Hendrix concert. Perhaps a Hippie, but a fag? I'm not biting.

Otherwise an interesting blog. But I think some points obviously require more contextual insight than a dry by-the-numbers comparison of statistics.