Best indicator of a state’s political bent is its birth rate — but perhaps not for much longer
The chart above seems to suggest pollsters could have saved a lot of money and effort in the recent presidential race if they had simply looked up the fertility rates in the various states.
The states with generally larger families voted Republican, while those with smaller families voted Democratic.
As time goes by, however, the situation might well change.
Lauren Sandler EXPLAINS:
Almost invisibly over the past decade, family size in America has emerged as our deepest political dividing line.
Stunningly, the postponement of marriage and parenting — the factors that shrink the birth rate — is the very best predictor of a person’s politics in the United States, over even income and education levels, a Belgian demographer named Ron Lesthaeghe has discovered. Larger family size in America correlates to early marriage and childbirth, lower women’s employment, and opposition to gay rights — all social factors that lead voters to see red. The converse, according to futurist Joel Kotkin, marks ”the rise of post-familialism,” overturning the notion that a woman’s life requires a wedding dress and at least two kids to dutifully rear.
With liberal fertility on the rise, the predictive power of family size finds itself waning. As our demographics change, that county-by-county correlation that was so absolute ten years ago is beginning to yield to a purple reign. Celinda Lake, one of the Democratic party’s leading pollsters and strategists, who predicted the single ladies swing well before the exit polls, told me our future partisan fertility map is being redrawn. She says that as birth rates rise amongst women of color who vote consistently Democrat, the states working blue may make a radical turn to become our most fertile ones.
“We’re on the verge of a dramatic shift. It will be a different conversation ten years from now,” Lake told me, estimating that the predictive power of fertility will last until 2020, but not much longer.