Thursday, September 03, 2009

Alphas and Betas


Alphas, N =360



Betas, N = 384

These graphs show the trends in number of offspring over the past three decades for white men ages 30-39 having a lifetime total of 20-700 sexual partners (Alphas) and those with only one or two (Betas). There are only about 30 cases for each group in the 1980s, so we should pay more attention to the last two decades. First, it's clear that Alphas were more likely to be childless prior to this decade, but the gap has almost disappeared. Now, Alphas are more likely than Betas to have one kid but less likely to have two. Twenty-percent of both groups have three or more.

If we look at means instead, we get:


Mean number of children

Alphas
1980s 1.11
1990s 1.03
This decade 1.23

Betas
1980s 1.64
1990s 1.66
This decade 1.44


The story is similar here. Betas average more kids, but the gap is narrowing. Standard deviations (not shown) are increasing for both groups too, indicating greater variation in this decade.

So the two groups are converging: more Betas are now childless, while Alphas are reproducing at greater numbers. It looks like fewer Betas are able to find a partner now, and perhaps women are becoming more willing to have an Alpha's baby. Single motherhood is becoming more common and acceptable for whites, so women might be more willing to risk having a baby with an unreliable man.

Predictions are a very dicey business, and Alphas are still less prolific, but if current trends continue, Alphas could surpass Betas in the baby race.

8 comments:

Jim Bowery said...

How do you discount cuckoldry? Evolution certainly doesn't.

ironrailsironweights said...

I'm basing this on more of a hunch than any actual evidence, but it's my guess that the typical man with 20+ sex partners is not a BMW-driving hedge fund manager who wears $3,000 suits and scores with supermodels he meets in nightclub VIP rooms. He's more likely to be a semiliterate ex-con with more tattoos than teeth who's nailed half the fat single mothers in the trailer camp.

Peter

Todd White said...

This is very interesting. Thanks, Ron.

Anonymous said...

I think iron makes a good point. I would also suggest that most men with high #s of sexual partners are visiting prostitutes.

Your typical BWM-driving financier/entrapranuer/professionalis attached to a high maintenance, controlling woman from an upper middle class family. He's too afraid to go up against his girlfriend/wife.

ironrailsironweights said...

I would also suggest that most men with high #s of sexual partners are visiting prostitutes.

There'll probably be fewer of these men from now on ... I've read that the prostitution "business" has fallen on very hard times now that Craigslist no longer accepts their advertisements. Most of them had dropped streetwalking and other methods of solicitation in favor of online advertising.

Peter

FeministX said...

We should not make the assumption that the shrinking difference between number of children born to promiscuous and non promiscuous men reflects a change in the type of man having children. # of partners is not a static attribute. Say a given man born in 1920 had 2 partners and 2 children. A genetically identical man born in 1990 might have 20 partners and 2 children. Changes in culture, birth control availabiliy etc. could be changing how people form sexual relations amd their decisions about how many children to have.

"I'm basing this on more of a hunch than any actual evidence, but it's my guess that the typical man with 20+ sex partners is not a BMW-driving hedge fund manager who wears $3,000 suits and scores with supermodels he meets in nightclub VIP rooms. "

I really get the impression that pretty much all hedge fund managers in designer suits rack up at least 20 partners. Would they have done so 50 years ago? Maybe. Maybe not.

Anonymous said...

"I really get the impression that pretty much all hedge fund managers in designer suits rack up at least 20 partners. Would they have done so 50 years ago? Maybe. Maybe not."

While I agree that some of the hedge fund manager types probably fit in that mold, for every one high flying promiscuous rich guy, there are a hundred nasty promiscuous guys. I exaggerate, but still, there are just not that many hedge fund managers or professional athletes.

Anyway, I actually know some of these people and they generally have a wife and a bunch of kids and are the highly disciplined type at home. Just an anecdote, but still, such types exist.

11minutes said...

What's the data source?