Thursday, September 02, 2010

Predictors of childlessness

I looked at over 5,000 respondents from the GSS to estimate a model that predict the odds of having at least one child. Here are the results (logistic regression coefficients):


Having at least one child

Age .05 
IQ -.05
Years of education -.15
Income .00
Belief in God .15
Political conservatism .08

All of the relationships are statistically significant at the 95 percent confidence level (two-tailed test). The estimates depend on the scale of the predictor: the income coefficient is so small, for example, because income varies so widely. Income is actually a comparatively strong predictor of not being childless, as is age (not surprisingly). Education is also a strong predictor of having no kids. IQ is weaker. Belief in God is a strong predictor the other way, while conservatism is a weaker predictor.

Long story short: being an educated liberal atheist is like having a disease where your testicles rot and fall off.  

And you develop this mysterious desire to get a dog or a cat.

15 comments:

Jason said...

"You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you."

I don't consider you an enemy, exactly, but it is interesting the overwrought language you use when you talk about reproduction or the lack thereof. And also the reference to testicles rather than ovaries, even though this study has no gender component. There is personal investment here. A lot of it.

This is the language of a man who has no other outlet for masculine accomplishment. You'll never build an enduring monument, never provide meat for the tribe, never conquer a foe.

The only thing you'll leave behind for your people to remember you by is your unique arrangement of genes... which will be diluted by 1/2 every generation, starting with the very first. If you really loved your genes and believed yourself to be an excellent specimen with no recessives, you could marry a sister or a cousin and forestall that dilution by a generation. But to carry it beyond that, you'd have to found an ideological dynasty (memeplex) that promoted in-marriage over a longer time frame. Like the crown heads of Europe.

But that brings us right back to the whole masculine accomplishment thing.

Jokah Macpherson said...

I was going to spend five paragraphs extrapolating your shortcomings from a nonserious but statistically-supported quip about reproduction but I guess someone beat me to it.

Darn it, I can't seem to masculinely accomplish anything.

DR said...

You should log-transform income in the regression. It's a power law distribution so it's massively skewed. A couple of the high points will exercise massive leverage on the regression.

Jim Bowery said...

Boy, you sure hit a nerve with this one Ron! And I don't mean your "overwrought language" but rather the tendency for people to respond with critiques like that rather than interest in the de facto eugenics experiments being imposed on entire populations of unwilling human subjects by folks in the "social sciences."

It begs for further correlations.

Jim Bowery said...

The thing that is most interesting to me about this is the kind of intelligensia our current de facto eugenics experiments are promoting.

What are the correlation structures that give us a glimpse of the future's high priests/slave masters of the dumbed-down but religiously obedient populous?

Severn said...

You'll never build an enduring monument, never provide meat for the tribe, never conquer a foe.


Sounds like "overwrought language " to me, Jason.

Bill said...

Just divide income by 1000 or 10000 (which will multiply the coefficient on income by 1000 or 10000 without changing meaning). Presenting a significant zero is goofy.

Interesting post, by the way.

Jason said...

You gotta' speak the language of your audience.

I think the obsession with legacy is a little pointless, but if you're going to go there, why go with reproduction? And male reproduction at that? A few seconds' work to pass on something that you had no part in choosing or creating? It's not even uniquely human. That's a rodent-level accomplishment.

It's not the sort of thing you brag about if you have anything else to your name. The same way you don't become a civilian speed enforcer, driving slow in the fast lane, if you feel happy and effective in your job and family life.

Saint Louis said...

Jason,

You've got to chill. We can't all be Michelangelo or Alexander the Great. Ron has an interesting blog that lots of people follow; maybe not an "enduring monument" but it's more than many men do. And he presumably has a good job that provides for his family; basically, he does bring home meat for the tribe, even if he buys it at the supermarket.

He's a fine, upstanding man. You're just a sniveling cry-baby crapping all over his achievements.

Jason said...

It's a good blog. But it's a good blog largely because it's the product of a very deep irony.

"Ron" is a pseudonym for a man employed by a feminized institution that would cut him loose in an instant if they got a whiff of what he really thought. Dependent on women, living in fear of women, submissive to women. Without the means or will to change that situation.

Of course, if he could, then he probably wouldn't need this particular outlet, and we'd miss out on all the interesting data.

Jim Bowery said...

Jason, why isn't the selective pressure more remarkable than Ron's motive?

Anonymous said...

LOL at Jason's comments. Crazies abound on the internet.

Statsquatch said...

This is a nice analysis. It is consistent with Meisenberg's recent path analysis that showed that the effect of IQ on fertility was indirect and mediated through education and income. This is, smart people breed just fine if you can keep them out of college. But maybe Meisenberg's path analysis is feminized too.

SFG said...

""Ron" is a pseudonym for a man employed by a feminized institution that would cut him loose in an instant if they got a whiff of what he really thought. Dependent on women, living in fear of women, submissive to women. Without the means or will to change that situation."

Leave the poor guy alone. If he worked for a private sector company, he'd have no time to post this.

Wanderer said...

I'm trying to make sense of these figures.

If 20% of all people remain childless, does this mean only 17% of those who believe in God remain childless? (.2-[.2*.15])?