Democrats Recoil From GOP's Electoral Secret: Marriage Plus Children

There is a little-known movement sweeping across the United States. The movement is "maritalism."

Okay—that's pretty silly.

But if demographic trend impresario David Brooks can use my number-crunching in his Dec. 7th New York Times op-ed "The New Red-Diaper Babies" to claim:

"There is a little-known movement sweeping across the United States. The movement is 'natalism'"

then can't I cash in with my own buzzword too?

Brooks declared "natalism" to be A New Trend in part because of me. He wrote:

"So there are significant fertility inequalities across regions… You can see surprising political correlations. As Steve Sailer pointed out in The American Conservative, George Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, and 25 of the top 26. John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest rates."

Of course, in reality, there's no organized "natalist movement." But it's a marketable catchphrase on which Brooks can hang articles and lucrative lectures.

So, needing the money more than he does, I'm going to coin the term "maritalist movement" even though there's no Movement with a capital M either—just people who are married.

This article is a sequel to my cover story, "Baby Gap: How Birthrates Color the Electoral Map" in the Dec. 20, 2004 American Conservative. I can now reveal on VDARE.COM some new and improved insights into the two underlying demographic factors that molded, to a quite astonishing degree, the last two Presidential elections.

Two factors, because being married turns out to be even more important than having babies.

Let me fill in the recent history. My AmCon piece has been getting a lot of attention because it's the first major conceptual breakthrough in understanding the much-discussed divide between "red states" (Republican) and "blue states" (Democrat).

Here's a scatter plot illustrating my original correlation in "Baby Gap" between voting by state and the expected number of babies per white woman over her lifetime. Red dots represent the red states and blue dots the blue states. The correlation coefficient of Bush's share of the total vote in a state and the number of babies per white woman is r = 0.86, meaning that this relationship "accounts for" 74 percent of variance (r-squared = 74 percent).

(Here is a fairly simple explanation of what "correlation" means, in the statistical sense. Also, to help you visualize the geography of my 2004 correlation, Ethan Herdrick has graciously constructed a nifty map.)

This is an extraordinarily close connection. But it's no one-time fluke. As I pointed out on VDARE.COM back in 2001, Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility in 2000.

And the strength of the relationship has been growing with time. Back in 1988, the correlation between white fertility and George H.W. Bush's share of the vote by state was r = 0.71 (r-squared = 51%). That was only about 70 percent as powerful as the correlation with George W. Bush's share in 2004. [Here's the data for the data hounds]

Why do voters follow these patterns? Because blue regions tend to be more densely populated and racially diverse—which raises the cost of both capacious housing and safe schooling. This makes children harder to afford. Bigger families make red staters more open to voting on the GOP's "family values" issues. (My American Conservative article explains the mechanisms in detail.)

Do Democrats want to learn the secrets underlying voter behavior and figure out how to beat the Republicans?

Or do they just want to congratulate themselves on their morally superior ignorance…and keep losing?

Answer: the latter, judging by liberals' reaction to my discovery so far. A frenzy of Democrats' denunciations of my finding have rained down, all predicated on the assumption that they can ignore what I discovered because … I'm evil.

There's a classic example of anti-Sailerism over at TAPPED, the blog of the liberal American Prospect, by Garance Franke-Ruta. She is in a tizzy that Brooks defiled the pages of the New York Times by citing me.

The defining characteristic of anti-Sailerist diatribes like Franke-Ruta's is multitudinous quotations from my writings with no attempt at refutation of their truth. The reader is simply supposed to be shocked, SHOCKED that anyone would dare write such politically incorrect things.

A few times, Franke-Ruta gets so worked up she can't even be bothered to quote me out of context. I was particularly amused that she included my AmCon article's concluding paragraph in full:

"Nobody noticed that the famous blue-red gap was a white baby gap because the subject of white fertility is considered disreputable. But I believe the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking. At least, it's certainly more interesting."

Apparently, by revealing that I believe that the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking, I've condemned myself in the eyes of all of polite society.

No refutation of my shocking faux pas is needed. All bien-pensants can instantly see how much better it is to bask in reputable ignorance.

In 1942, George Orwell famously observed of this manner of thinking:

"Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as 'the truth' exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as 'Science.' There is only 'German Science,' 'Jewish Science,' etc… This prospect frightens me much more than bombs—and after our experiences of the last few years that is not such a frivolous statement."

Democrats, of course are not Nazis—they are the only organized American opposition to the Bush dynasty. But if they prefer to wallow in self-congratulatory bigotry, they simply won't be able to provide the effective competition our country needs.

Enough of the past. Here's what I've found that's brand new.

There is another demographic factor that correlates at the state level even more tightly than white fertility with Bush's share: being married.

And, when years married is teamed with fertility in a two-factor multiple regression model, the correlation becomes stratospheric.

The more years of their young adulthoods that the white people in a state spend in wedlock on average, the more Republican the state is overall.

I figured out how to estimate by state the expected number of years between the ages of 18 and 44 that a woman will be married (to be precise, married with her husband present).

For example, white women in Utah, where Bush had his best showing with 71 percent of the total vote, led the nation by being married an average of 17.0 years during those 27 years from age 18 through 44.

In contrast, in Washington D.C., where Bush only took 9 percent, the average white woman is married only 7.4 years. In Massachusetts, where Bush won merely 37 percent, her years married average just 12.2.

California is next at 12.5. That coincides with my observations: four of my seven best friends from my Los Angeles high school's class of 1976 did not get married for the first time until this millennium, when they were in their forties.

Marriage in L.A. is increasingly reverting to what it was in Jane Austen's novels: a luxury that many cannot currently—and some may never—afford.

(For The Onion's satirical views on the increasing age of marriage, click here.)

Indeed, there is much more diversity among states in years of marriage than in years of education—a factor that is frequently discussed although it is less politically significant.

Leaving anomalous Washington D.C. aside, the range between the state with the most-educated whites (Hawaii with 14.2 years of schooling on average) and the worst (West Virginia with 12.2) is only 42% as large as the Utah-Massachusetts gap in years married.

Overall, Bush carried the top 25 states ranked on years married for white women. The correlation coefficient with Bush's share of the vote is 0.91, or 83 percent of the variation "explained." That's extremely high. Years married also correlates with the 2000 election results at the 0.89 level (80 percent). So it's no fluke.

The r-squared when years married and fertility are combined in a multiple regression model is improves to 88 percent. (Small-sounding change, perhaps, but actually an important (30%) reduction in the unaccounted variation - from 17 percent to 12 percent.)

In other words, both years married and fertility play statistically significant roles, with years married somewhat more important.

Not surprisingly, years married and number of babies per woman is highly correlated (r = 0.80, r-squared = 65 percent). On both measures, Utah is first and D.C. last.

However, there are some differences.

Southern states tend to have quite early marriage, but only somewhat above average fertility. That's probably because years married is negatively correlated with years of schooling (-0.72, 52 percent), and the Southern states tend to be a little below average in white educational level.

In case you are wondering, five out of the ten states with the most-educated white populations gave their Electoral Votes to Bush. Strikingly, the most socially conservative state, Utah, has the seventh most-educated whites, ahead of even educationally haughty archliberal Massachusetts.

However, nine out of the bottom ten least-educated white populations are in red states—mostly in the South.

Despite the notorious Red State-Blue State IQ Hoax with which so many millions of Democrats consoled themselves after November's election, exit poll data shows that, across all races, the two parties' voters are virtually identical in years of schooling. They were tied in 2000, the GOP was slightly ahead in 2002, and the Democrats were up in 2004, but only by only about 0.15 years of classwork per voter.

However, white Democrats tend to be somewhat more educated than white Republicans (who are what white Democrats are thinking about when they obsess about their superiority).

In contrast, black and Hispanic Republicans average more years of schooling than their Democratic co-ethnics.

While limited schooling correlates clearly with early marriage, the negative correlation between years of education and babies per woman is surprisingly weak (-0.38, 14 percent). The states that have relatively late marriage combined with relatively high fertility are led by Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.

My guess is that these states receive many educated refugees from California looking for a place where they can afford to raise several children.

What lessons can the GOP learn from this trove of information?

The most obvious: Republicans do best when younger adults can afford to get married and have children. (Women are especially likely to be converted from Democrat to Republican by marriage and children.)

Young white people are most inclined to marry and procreate if housing is cheap because of low population density and if the public schools are undamaged by ethnic diversity.

That may sound shockingly blunt to see in writing. But, let's be honest, that's how everybody talks in private when buying a home.

In increasingly expensive and diverse California, white fertility fell 14 percent from 1990 to 2002.

Not surprisingly, although George H.W. Bush carried California by four points in 1988, his son lost it by nine points in 2004.

What is the single most effective way Republicans can avoid Californicating the rest of the county?

What is the simplest way to keep population density under control and public school quality up—thus allowing more young people to afford the Republicanizing blessings of marriage and children?

Cut back on immigration.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog.]