Liberals are not having enough babies to keep up with conservatives. Arthur Brooks, a social scientist at Syracuse University, was the first to point this out all the way back in 2006 when he went on ABC News and blew blue staters minds. “The political Right is having a lot more kids than the political Left,” he explained. “The gap is actually 41 percent.” Data on the U.S. birth rate from the General Social Survey confirms this trend—a random sample of 100 conservative adults will raise 208 children, while 100 liberal adults will raise a mere 147 kids. That’s a massive gap.
When we collected the number of children per capita in each state and then compared the data to statewide voting records, we found that the trend is so strong, that it can even be observed at the state level. Red States came out with significantly more kids per capita than Blue States.
There are, of course, sociopolitical reasons why Republicans might have more children. Conservatives tend to live in sprawling rural or suburban communities and are often social conservatives who eschew birth control and abortions, and summarily bump up the U.S. birth rate. Liberals tend to be concentrated in cramped city apartments and are more likely to get abortions.
Not that it makes much of a difference—staunch conservatives who are procreating to stack the ballot box are likely to be disappointed by their Occupy Wall Street children, and it is unlikely that the political fertility gap will have any bearing on how adults vote. Although it is true that some studies suggest that 70 percent of teens vote like their parents, more recent work suggests that parents who insist on their political views at home are more likely to see their children abandon those beliefs in college.
Besides, a parent’s job is not to mass produce a voting populace—it’s to influence their discourse and, by extension, the discourse of the voting public. Parents across the political spectrum should explain that mutual respect is not only possible, it’s pleasurable. Tell your kids that power should be exercised benevolently, and that truth-seeking is obligatory. The country would be a better place if political discourse had these components—whether you live in New York or Nebraska.
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