Thursday, August 02, 2012

Conservatives and single parenthood

The issue of out-of-wedlock births and conservatism came up in the comments of the last post. Here are the percentages of never-marrried men and women who have kids (GSS, years 2000-2010):


Percent never-married with kids--males

Extremely liberal 22.2
Liberal 12.2
Slightly liberal 18.9
Moderate 22.0
Slightly conservative 15.2
Conservative 21.9
Extremely conservative 37.5


Percent never-married with kids--females

Extremely liberal 34.3
Liberal 29.3
Slightly liberal 35.5
Moderate 45.6
Slightly conservative 37.4
Conservative 46.2
Extremely conservative 63.9


For single men, the numbers bounce around, but extreme conservatives are much more likely to have children. The conservative-fertility link is clearer for single women; over 60 percent of extreme conservatives have offspring. Part of the explanation for this is that conservatives are pro-natalist across the board: for all marital statuses, except perhaps for those who are separated, conservatives have larger families (data not shown).  

12 comments:

JayMan said...

Is this Whites only?

Vito said...

If this includes NAM's it skews the stats.

E said...

(this post is way to long. Sorry!)

Ron,

Since I think it was my comment that set this off, I have a couple of points (actually questions):

I'm not really "on board" with the whole HBD thing, and I feel a bit crass emphasizing the racial disparity here, but when I attempted to examine the GSS data, I was surprised at the relatively high percentage of black "extremely conservative" (7) respondents (actually, 24 out of 191 "extremely conservative" respondents were black, a 12% figure similar to their ratio of the population).

I say "attempted," because (1) I haven't figured out how to use the online GSS interface (the one at http://www3.norc.org/gss+website/), so I wound up downloading an entire datapack (GSS 2010, "merged with all cases and variables") and imported it into R. (2) I'm not really very good with R, either, so I scotch-taped a table together of variables "polviews", "marital", "childs", and "race", dumped it to a file, eliminated lines with NAs, and used awk to tabulate some data.

Specifically, I looked at both "extremely conservative" (polviews = 7) and all conservatives (polviews > 4), never-marrieds (marital = 5), and both with and without children. I discovered that either when considering only "extremely conservative" respondents, or when considering all conservatives (5,6,7) who were also never married and had children, almost twice as many were black than white (10 vs. 6).

On the other hand, when looking at extremely conservative respondents who were never married and had no kids, all 14 cases were white, and when looking at a looser all conservatives listing, 111 out 136 were white.

Anyway, as my "analysis" is probably a bit shaky, I'll defer to your judgment. My point is simply that certain socially liberal types like to imagine that very white (and probably fat) Christian fundamentalist types are puttin' out and poppin' out babies left and right (when not praisin' Jesus) 'cause the preacher man didn't tell them about no birth control pills, which is why we need Kevin Bacon to come to town to teach them to boogie down to Men At Work.

JayMan said...

I have a follow up to this. It doesn't appear that there is any "natalist" effect of conservativism for the unwed. Rather, it appears that IQ differences are at play:

Out-of-Wedlock Births, Liberals and Conservatives | JayMan's Blog

Anonymous said...

Looks a bit odd. Extremely conservative men are much more likely to have children out of wed-lock than are merely "conservative" men, moderate men, or liberal men?

I don't buy it.

Anonymous said...

when I attempted to examine the GSS data, I was surprised at the relatively high percentage of black "extremely conservative" (7) respondents (actually, 24 out of 191 "extremely conservative" respondents were black


That's one possible explanation - "extremely conservative" in the minds of respondents means something sharply different from how we think of the term.

JayMan said...

"That's one possible explanation - "extremely conservative" in the minds of respondents means something sharply different from how we think of the term."

Blacks are often highly socially conservative.

Perhaps I'll look this up at some point.

Anonymous said...

Blacks are often highly socially conservative


I guess that depends on your understanding of the word "conservative".

Anonymous said...

We need two additional pieces of information. One is to break out these categories by race. The other is include the absolute size of the different groups, and/or to show them as percentage of of the overall population of never-married people who have children.

45% of a hundred is a much smaller number than 25% of a million. If the total number of "extremely conservative never married females with kids" is a minute fraction of the "extremely liberal never married females with kids", that changes the complexion of things considerably. And if that (I suspect) small number of "extremely conservative never married females with kids" is disproportionally black, things change even more.

Anonymous said...

Looking at Census data, the population of people in America who are not married but are living with their own kids is (a) completely female, and (b) disproportionately black.

"Never married males living with kids" is too small a set of people to even show up in the data.

Anonymous said...

Extreme conservatives = less likely to believe in abortion?

Matthew said...

Minimal experience examining the reults of one of Pew's knowledge surveys suggested to me that people aren't very good classifying themselves on the liberal-to-conservative axis.

A few years ago, one of Pew's surveys showed "liberals" scoring somewhat higher than "conservatives," but also showed Republicans scoring significantly better than Democrats.

A better way of gauging peoples' political preferences is simply to ask which party they most commonly vote for.

I can believe that conservatives are more fecund than liberals, even out-of-wedlock, but not to the degree this study suggests. No study I've ever read, however measured, shows that large a gap.