Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why do wealthy white conservative women have more children?

In the recent post on the fertility of wealthy white women, a reader raised the question of why conservative women have more children. He suggested it was greater religiosity and less involvement in the workplace.

We can use OLS regression analysis to help answer the question. I included white women ages 40-59 in households earning at least $100k in 1986 dollars. First, I regressed the number of offspring onto political orientation. The unstandardized coefficient is .161 (p < .05) which indicates that conservative women have significantly more babies. If we include church attendance, the coefficient drops to .120. If, instead, we include hours worked last week, the political coefficent drops to .132. If, instead, we include years of schooling completed, the political slope falls to .131. (The correlation between education and conservatism among wealthy white women is -.16--liberals tend to be more educated.) If all three controls are included in the model, the results look like this:

Number of offspring (sample size = 231)

Conservatism .081
Church attendance .098*
Hours of work -.007
Education -.081*

*p < .05, two-tail

With the three controls included, the link between poltical views and number of offspring falls to non-significance. In this full model, number of hours worked also has no significant effect on fertility.  To put it in plain English, the data indicate that wealthy white conservative women have more children because they are more religious and less educated than liberal women.

One caution: education's effect is not the influence of IQ. Among this demographic, IQ is unrelated to fertility. The correlation between IQ and number of kids is .02--basically zero. Education's influence appears to be cultural.


  1. Anonymous8:14 PM

    So Conservative women "have more children because they are more religious and less educated than liberal women".

    They key word is "educated". "Educated" means indoctrinated with anti-conception, PC, liberal ideology.

    Educated does not mean smarter, in fact it is more of a burden these days.

  2. When you say liberal are you talking about Democrats? Don't 95% of blacks vote democrat they are dumb as a box of rocks.

  3. So sayeth Unknown, king of grammar.

  4. Anonymous7:20 PM

    "Education" also sucks up a woman's prime childbearing years and usually burdens her with debt that probably further inhibits family formation.

  5. Anonymous7:24 PM

    By which I mean to say that education's effect is not "cultural", but practical. Education doesn't culturally persuade women not to have kids, it just practically prevents them from having kids.

  6. So sayeth Unknown, king of grammar.


Pointing out this obvious difference makes me a sexist

Here is a table based on Li, Kung, and Hines (2017). Look at how there is almost no overlap between the mascu...