correspondent in New York reports that one of the local
magazines proclaims that city "the one-child-family
capital of the United States". That illustrates why the
influence of American metropole will continue to fall.
The demographic shift in favor of "red"
(Republican) versus "blue" (Democratic) states helped
President George W Bush win last week's election,
American commentators have observed. What we have
observed thus far is only the thin end of an enormous
wedge. Religious ("red") Americans will continue to have
children, and secular ("blue") Americans will continue
to extinguish themselves.
That America is two
nations has become a commonplace. But what is the
destiny of these two nations? Demographics is destiny,
said August Comte, and the demographics of "blue"
America closely resemble the dying Europe with which the
"blues" identify. "Red" America, characterized first of
all by evangelical Christianity, is thriving.
"Where will the children of the future come
from? They will come disproportionately from people who
are at odds with the modern environment ... or who, out
of fundamentalist or chauvinist conviction ... reject
the game altogether," wrote Phillip Longman in The
Empty Cradle (review, Faith, fertility and American
dominance, September 8). "The religiously minded
generally have bigger families than do secularists. In
the United States, for example, fully 47% of people who
attend church weekly say that the ideal family size is
three or more children, as opposed to only 27% of those
who seldom attend church."
participation in last Tuesday's vote surprised the
Democrats ('It's the culture, stupid', November
5). That was not the beginning of the end for the
Democrats, but (in Winston Churchill's words) the
beginning of the beginning. America's population will
change and its politics will change as well. Twenty
years from now the US religious majority may have a
super-majority at all levels of government.
liberal dystopia has no room for children. Homosexuals,
the vanguard of liberated culture, have none, and
heterosexuals preoccupied with cutting-edge sexual
experimentation have few. The coastal metropolitan
regions that gave John Kerry overwhelming support in
last week's election resemble Western Europe in some
respects (although they attract far more talented
immigrants than ever Europe will). The population of New
York City will not shrink as fast as Frankfurt's, but
the direction is similar.
Take this simple
calculation: 44% of the US population of 285 million as
of the year 2000 census were evangelical (or "born
again") Christians, according to an August 2000 Gallup
poll. Let us assume that these 125 million evangelicals
average three children per family during the next
generation, and that the non-evangelical population
averages 1.6 children per family. Within one generation
(assuming a 0.5% death rate for both groups),
evangelicals will form a majority of 61% of the
population. This does not take into account the higher
birthrate of devout Catholics, who tend toward social
These are simplistic calculations,
but it will not take long for the professionals to
produce more accurate ones. Like the French and German
general staffs before World War I, the strategists of
both US political parties will spend the next four years
analyzing demographic tables. Apart from the evangelical
surge, the failure of the "youth vote" to buoy the
Democratic side was another election surprise. In the
future, the youth vote will belong increasingly to the
Is that far-fetched? On the
contrary, it already is happening. Eighty-five percent
of Americans profess Christianity. "Born-again"
denominations showed enormous growth during the past
generation, while so-called "mainline" (and
liberal-leaning) denominations have hollowed out.
Catholics have increased, in large measure due to
The table below shows the
change in membership of Christian denominations since
1960: Membership in Major American Christian
Professor Robert Wuthnow of
the Brookings Institution has argued that higher
birthrates explain the surging numbers of parishioners
at evangelical churches as well as the shrinking count
of liberal (or "mainline") Protestants. The fading
liberal denominations ordain homosexual bishops, support
income distribution and sympathize with the
Palestinians. The growing evangelical denominations
support traditional morality, favor entrepreneurship and
identify with Israel.
Those who were horrified
by the religious character of the US presidential
election had better grow a tougher hide. That, the
available evidence shows, only was the beginning.
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