Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reasons for the American fertility decline

A reader in the post on Jews and white fertility argued that second-wave feminism is responsible for high levels of female education, which has been shown to be a strong predictor of low fertility. (By the way, the education-fertility pattern is not limited to the United States--it is worldwide). No doubt that many prominent feminists have been Jews, but feminism had little to do with the historical decline in fertility.

The colored graph shows trends in education for women in their seventies over four decades (GSS data). The bar on the left shows the degrees earned by women born in the first decade of the last century. The next bar shows the same for women born in the second decade, the third for women born in the 20s, and the one on the right is women born in the 30s. The graph shows that there was a dramatic increase in the number of women who finished high school in the first half of the century. Parallel to it was a rapid decline in the total fertility rate (shown in the top graph). Second-wave feminism had nothing to do with it.

Demographers consider the Baby Boom to be an exception to a long-term decline in fertility. Of course, the movement away from the farm was a key part of the early 20th century decline (as children went from being economic assets to liabilities) but Jewish influence was not.

Even the post-Baby Boom decline can't be blamed on feminism. The 70s was the feminist decade, but the graph shows that birth rates started their dramatic decline in 1958. Women were getting educated and moving into the workplace in droves before feminists got a broad hearing.

I imagine some white nationalists might want to cherry pick Gregory Pincus out of the scientists who developed the pill, but it was not widespread until around 1965, seven years after the beginning of the decline. And any type of argument like this falters anyway because such developments have hurt Jewish fertility more than the fertility of others.


  1. Ron, what do you think are the intellectual defenses that should have been brought to bear against the post-baby-boom decline? Against filling the demographic void with foreign races?

    This is really where "the culture of critique" comes in.

    PS: Thank you for helping guide the debate away from weak arguments, but there are a _lot_ of those.

  2. Here are the ecological correlates with total white fertility rate 2002 (excluding the District of Columbia which is incredibly hostile to white fertility and incredibly high in the Jewish percent of whites).

  3. Anonymous4:29 AM

    Yes, the Baby Boom was an exception to the long-term trend, but so, it's worth noting, was the fertility plunge during the Depression. Yes, the trend downwards over the 20c, but not that sharply. The obvious factor was economic: education levels hadn't yet changed that much.

    An interesting question is whether the recent return to replacement-level fertility is real and lasting, and what it means. Higher immigrant and minority fertility (yes, in part at least), or higher fertility among the successful middle classes (compared with earlier, not compared with other classes). There's evidence there as well.


  4. Anonymous8:24 AM

    Ron Gunhame,

    Miles here. I think if more whites KNEW we had a sub-replacement birthrate, more of them would have that second and third child.

    So many people out there are laboring under the impression that we have an overpopulation crisis and that too many kids are being born. We have an over-immigration crisis, and not enough native kids being born.

    Its always astonished me that when Ive asked people "do you know what the replacement birthrate is?", Ive gotten blank and quizzical looks in return. People honestly dont think about it at all, and just assume that we will always have a surfeit of able young bodies as if they spring into existence of their own accord or something.

  5. Anonymous12:20 PM

    The interesting thing is that the only people who care about the environment are a declining share of the population. The average illegal immigrant does not care about the environment. The people who have high birthrates don't show any inclination to worry about such things as overpopulation. Of course the desperately poor aren't in a position to fix things. However, we in developed nations may be going about fixing things the wrong way.

    In the reproductive race, artificial selection is against intelligence.

    Imagine the next generation with more people but with only half as many people with an IQ above 100. Think of the progress they will make, not.

    Just for example, not real numbers.

    If we now have 6 billion, and 2 billion have an IQ over 100,...

    Imagine in 30 years, 9 billion but only 1 billion with an IQ over 100.

    Based on estimates from a book like, IQ and the Wealth of Nations, a more accurate picture could be draw with more accurate numbers.

    We know that the countries with highest average intelligence have the lowest birthrates. And within those countries, the folks with the highest average intelligence have the fewest children.

    People of intelligence for some strange reason don't value populating the world with such as themselves and seem quite content to just take it with them.

    I don't understand the Jewish angle. The more religious Jews have many children. It's the secular Jews who have few.

  6. The White Detroiter8:07 PM

    Good analysis Ron. The decline in fertility rates is happening all over the world and isn't something to worry about. Japan has long had lower fertility than the US and little immigration but the population has stabilized rather than collapsed. If the US had an immigration pause like we did from 1923-1965 our population would similarly stabilize.

  7. Anonymous4:52 AM

    "Japan has long had lower fertility than the US and little immigration but the population has stabilized rather than collapsed."

    Hasn't collapsed yet.

    Fertility rates below the replacement rate mean eventually population will fall.

    Just because a country still has 25 million doesn't mean things are okey dokey.

    If you used to have 60% under age 40 and 40% over 40, but now you have the reverse, there is no reason to think it will make no difference or that you can maintain the same level of productivity.

  8. If the US had an immigration pause like we did from 1923-1965 our population would similarly stabilize.

    The time for that immigration pause was 1965 -- in other words the "pause" should never have ended. The US would be in much better shape today. But for some reason Jews were so threatened by the US as it was that they organized to end it. Why were they so threatened?


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