The Coming Demographic Shift

by W.F. Price on March 28, 2012

Although I like to pay attention to demographics and quantitative social studies, and often read papers and blogs devoted to the subjects, I tend to leave it to the guys who like crunching numbers in Excel (there are a lot of them out there). However, every now and then simple observation compels me to weigh in on the issue. One thing I’ve realized, as I approach middle age (or have already entered it depending on one’s definition), is that I really don’t know what’s going on with those who are a decade or more younger than me. Actually, I’m not even sure I realize how things are for those in their late 20s, but that’s kind of a transitional stage, and they have already more or less entered the adult world, so the difference is not so profound.

So, to do a little research I went to some social media sites so as to get an idea of the youthful style and trends. One thing I noticed about women in their 20s is that lots and lots of them have tattoos. Not just the little tramp stamp a few naughty girls got back in the 90s, but in many cases big, garish glaring things that cover their necks, upper arms, backs, calves and God knows what else. Now, this isn’t all of them, of course, but a very considerable proportion — about 20-30%. My bet is that these are the daughters of single moms.

Then, on the other hand, you’ve got the “wholesome” Christian types. I doubt they are any better behaved than the typical girl of some 20 years ago, but hey, at least they are making an effort. These girls probably grew up, for the most part, in intact families. Now, keep in mind that these are the 20-somethings, born for the most part in the 1980s. I think there’s going to be an even bigger shift in the next cohort, as I’ll explain presently.

While in San Francisco, I did a lot of walking around with my kids, going to parks, riding cable cars, and all the rest. San Francisco is a very “progressive” city, and fairly white as far as large cities go. Because I was with kids doing parent things, I saw a lot of other parents. Mainly professional urban types with one or two kids (usually one), largely white, and fairly old as far as parents go. I was a young dad there for the age of my kids, and I’m pretty much right in the middle for the typical white, American father — maybe even a year or so older than average. However, despite going to a lot of kid-friendly places, and despite the fact that San Francisco is actually a really fun place to take kids, I got the impression that children are a rarity in San Francisco. In fact, they are.

There’s been talk for some time now about how conservative whites tend to have more kids than liberals (I’ll focus on whites here because black demographics have followed an entirely different pattern, and immigrants, obviously, have as well). Although I’m not sure exactly when the trend started, I suspect it got going some time around 1980 (this article suggests the late 70s), probably shortly after party affiliation started to solidify along urban/non-urban lines, and then really accelerated in the 90s. My age cohort – those of us born during the 70s – is the last one in which white Democrats and Republicans had essentially equal numbers of children. Therefore, to me it is pretty normal to have a mix of conservatives and liberals in the same family, amongst friends, colleagues, etc. However, this will change, and the divide amongst the young is going to result in a bifurcation and transformation of the white American population. If the contrast between one kind of girl and another, which was by no means so stark when I was younger, is any indication, this division has already begun to show itself.

What we see playing out in American politics is the last gasp of traditional America. Liberals vs. conservatives is starting to become something of an old people’s game. For people my age and older, we could be one or the other without having many fundamental differences besides political affiliation between us, so it’s essentially a debate between equals. For younger people, there will be far more profound differences in terms of family structure, wealth and culture, because of both fertility trends and the realities of broken families and single motherhood.

Progressive whites are already a minority amongst white Americans, but given their abysmal fecundity they will be an even smaller minority in short order. Their few children, however, should have a nice lifestyle and ample opportunity. They will in all likelihood continue to have a disproportionately strong voice in the cultural elite for some time even as their numbers dwindle to insignificance. Somewhat more fertile, but far less functional, will be the white working class/single mom cohort. As we have seen in the news recently, some 30% of babies born to white mothers under 30 are illegitimate, and most of these mothers are poorly educated and come from families with limited means. A number of these women and their children may affiliate themselves with the progressives (although many of them vote Republican in the South), but they are amongst the least political whites of all. They are probably the least likely to vote, or even know who is running for local office. Additionally, although they may be having 30% of the babies in their 20s, single moms are not generally as fertile as married women. Not having a husband makes it a lot more difficult to raise children, so many will never have another child. Their children will likely end up the damaged, tattooed girls and bad boys who live it up until they, too, make a baby and then spend the rest of their fertile years working low-skill, poorly-paid jobs to support themselves and their one or two kids.

The remainder is where the future lies. Perhaps 60% of whites will be neither progressive nor trashy, and they will have the lion’s share of children. In fact, this has already started happening, and we simply haven’t seen it yet, because their children are just now getting out of school. Sure, some of them will suffer from the ordinary pitfalls of contemporary American life, such as divorce, layoffs, and other calamities, but their position will be both stronger and healthier than that of their white competitors, and that will become more apparent within a fairly short period of time — say ten years. By that time, the conservative/liberal divide is not going to make quite as much sense, because middle class liberals will be riding off into the sunset (and probably expending much of their effort demanding their rivals’ children fund their rising healthcare costs).

One indication that this is already starting to happen is the pitiful protest movements one sees whites getting involved in today, such as Occupy Wall Street. Not only are the protestors a lot older on average than typical protestors would have been in the 90s and before, but the young ones are so obviously the spoiled, privileged children of urban elites that it takes the wind right of the movement’s sails. How many middle-American types would one find in those camps? Maybe a few were wandering around in there, but they sure weren’t represented according to their numbers. And the white proles who should have the biggest gripe are noticeably absent — they are apolitical. The gulf between these potential allies – white progressives and the white working/underclass – is just too big for them to forge anything other than the most awkward of coalitions. What’s really ironic is how progressives have been championing the demise of traditional America for years, but in reality they’ve simply been celebrating their own pending irrelevance. On that note, perhaps those who really don’t care all that much for progressive politics should support the Sandra Flukes of the world, who are doing their utmost to ensure that the daughters of progressive elites remain infertile for as long as possible.

So what does this have to do with men’s rights, feminism and the other issues we usually discuss here? Well, for one thing, the very concept of “men’s rights” is probably going to lose its cachet even as the progressive feminist movement runs out of steam. As white America shifts from a hegemonic force that competes only with itself in ever-escalating (and ridiculous) political gamesmanship to a more standard ethnic/national bloc in the greater Northern context, there will be a settling of values to something closer to the global norm, and instead of attempting to enforce one or another concept of “equality,” natural gender roles will quietly start to be taken for granted again. It will take years for this to happen, and in the meanwhile we’ll still have to deal with some of the excesses of the Postwar era (which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but still dominates political ideology and affiliation), but it looks as though we’ve passed the tipping point. In fact, the majority of Americans alive today are what one could call “post-feminist;” i.e. they were born after the demographic decline of progressives began. They have yet to reach political significance, but that will change sooner than most people think.

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