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Bushicide of the GOP—And Of America?
In all the many discussions of Red (Republican) states and Blue (Democratic) states since the 2000 Presidential election, the most striking finding that emerged has been that the GOP share of the vote correlates extremely closely with "affordable family formation" for non-Hispanic whites.
In states where young white couples make enough money to buy a house with a yard in a neighborhood with a decent public school, they are more likely to get married and more likely to have more children.
And where you find lots of white married couples with lots of children, you'll find lots of Republican voters.
So you might think that the Bush Administration would promote policies making family formation more affordable for its political base. But the latest government data suggest that it is not.
As I pointed out in a series of articles last winter, in the 2004 election Bush carried—
- The 26 states with the least housing price inflation since 1980: That's what I call The Mortgage Gap.
- The 25 states in which white women from 18 through 44 average the most years married: I call this The Marriage Gap.
- And 25 of the top 26 states in total lifetime fertility among younger white women: I call this The Baby Gap.
For example, California voted Republican in nine of ten Presidential elections, from 1952 through 1988. As recently as 1990, non-Hispanic white women in California averaged 1.93 babies.
Over the next dozen years, though, as immigrants poured in, California's white fertility rated dropped 14.4 percent to 1.65 babies. And the Democrats have carried the state easily four times in a row.
If the Bush Administration had the long-term interests of the GOP at heart, it would limit immigration to allow native-born Americans to better afford marriage and children.
Cutting immigration would raise America's employment and wages, keep housing prices in check, and make public schools better in quality by not overloading them with children from families that don't speak English and don't put a high value on education.
We could call this "Bushicide"—for the GOP, and for the American nation.
Among non-Hispanic whites, the illegitimacy rate rose to 24.5 percent, which is even higher than the notorious black illegitimacy rate that so alarmed Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his famous 1965 report to LBJ "The Negro Family: The Case for National Action."
Among African-Americans, there had been some hope that the illegitimacy rate was starting to go down from its catastrophic level of recent decades. But in 2004 it bumped back up to 69.2 percent.
Sure, Latinos are assimilating—but they are assimilating toward African-American norms. The illegitimacy rate is actually higher for American-born Hispanics than for immigrant Hispanics. (Which doesn't bode well for the future crime rate.)
The GOP won 58 percent of the white vote in 2004. It gets about nine out of every ten of its votes from whites.
So it's not good news for Republicans that the number of babies born to white women dropped by 18,000 last year to 2.303 million.
It's not good news for two reasons:
- Having babies (legitimately) encourages whites to vote Republican.
- Judging from past elections, white babies are about twice as likely to grow up to vote Republican as are nonwhite babies.
White women accounted for only 56.0 percent of all births in the U.S. last year, down from 56.7 percent in 2003.
The total fertility rate, or expected lifetime number of babies, among white women in their childbearing years fell from 1.87 to 1.85.
That's about 1/4th below the replacement rate at which a demographic group can maintain a stable size.
In contrast, the number of babies born to Hispanic women grew by 33,000 (or 3.6 percent in one year) to 945,000, or 23.0% of all births. (Latinos make up only about 14 percent of all residents.)
The Hispanic total fertility rate rose from 2.79 to 2.82.
The high Hispanic fertility is driven upwards by illegal immigration. A recent analysis of 2002 data by Steven A. Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies suggests that the total fertility rate for illegal Mexican immigrants is above 3.5 babies per woman. That compares to only 2.4 for Mexican women in Mexico.
Keep in mind that Latinos also tend to have children at an earlier age (their teen birth rate is more than triple the white rate). So their growth rate relative to whites is even faster than the total fertility numbers would suggest—because their average generation time is shorter.
As we've seen in California, immigration is crowding out marriage and childbirth among American citizens by making family formation less affordable.
This will spread to the rest of the country—unless something is done, i.e., current government policies are reversed.
During the last, disastrous, week, many Republicans have finally woken up to realize that the Bush apparatchiks are not the political geniuses that they've claimed to be.
Nor can America.