April 25, 2005

...AND REDDER:

Slow population growth threatens N.E. political clout: Census paints a graying region (Matt Apuzzo, 4/21/05, Associated Press)

New England stands to lose about 20 percent of its congressional seats over the next quarter-century as political power follows population booms in the South and West, newly released census data indicate.

Population projections released today by the US Census Bureau project much slower growth in New England. They also paint a picture of a region that is increasingly elderly, especially in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, where statisticians expect a dramatic spike in the number of residents 65 and older.

If the projections hold true, Massachusetts would lose two of its 10 congressional seats, Connecticut would lose one of its five, and Rhode Island would lose one of its two, according to an Associated Press analysis of the data.

That diminished political clout threatens to make it harder for New England lawmakers to push regional issues such as transportation and home heating costs onto the national agenda.

The states also will have to grapple with how to afford the costly social services required by their aging population.

Specialists say lawmakers won't be able to rely on Washington to fund those programs, as states around the country jockey for money to deal with aging baby boomers.

The Census Bureau projects that by 2030, 26.5 percent of people living in Maine will be 65 and older, a percentage that would trail only Florida's projected 27.1 percent.

''That means more concerns about budget pressures for healthcare, more concerns over rising housing costs when it's already getting difficult to add to the supply," said Jeffrey Carr, the state economic forecaster in Vermont. ''There's a million ramifications to this."

The federal government allocates seats in the House of Representatives every 10 years based on census data. Massachusetts lost a seat in 1980 and another in 1990, and Connecticut lost one in 2000.

In 2030, according to census estimates, New England will have about 15.6 million residents, up about 12 percent from 2000. That compares with 51 percent growth projected in the South Atlantic states and 65 percent growth projected in the Mountain region.

''New England is on the edge of a precipice here because of the political shifts dictated by population growth," said Darrell West, a Brown University political scientist. ''There are going to be stark political consequences. As we lose political representation in the House, it affects which laws get passed and how the federal budget gets divided up."


The realignment towards the Republicans is only in its earliest stage.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 25, 2005 3:23 PM
Comments

The Midwest gets hit pretty big, too, by these 2030 estimates. A couple of red states as well; balance favors the red states, though. (So long as one holds onto Florida, which will become truly massive, passing New York as well.) The only Dem bright spots are the Pacific Coast states. Ran the numbers myself, and you get:

Seat Losers:
New York -6, to 23
Pennsylvania -4, to 15
Ohio -4, to 14
Illinois -3, to 16
Michigan -2, to 13
Massachusetts -2, to 8
New Jersey -1, to 12
Indiana -1, to 8
Missouri -1, to 8
Wisconsin -1, to 7
Alabama -1, to 6
Louisiana -1, to 6
Kentucky -1, to 5
Connecticut -1, to 4
Iowa -1, to 4
Nebraska -1, to 2
West Virginia -1, to 2
Rhode Island -1, to 1

Seat Gainers:
Florida +9, to 34
Texas +8, to 40
Arizona +5, to 13
California +2, to 55
North Carolina +2, to 15
Nevada +2, to 5
Georgia +1, to 14
Virginia +1, to 12
Washington +1, to 10
Oregon +1, to 6
Utah +1, to 4

Posted by: John Thacker at April 25, 2005 4:23 PM

The intrastate trends are interesting, too. For example, not only has Pennsylvania been losing seats recently, but the seats that they've been losing have been almost exclusively inner city Democratic seats.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 25, 2005 4:26 PM

I recall an article in the June 1997 Atlantic Monthly,"Slow Death on the Great Plains", about how most of the Great Plains states from Montana to Nebraska are experiencing a drop in population. Not just low birth rates (which everyone is experiencing) or even out migration of younger residents to greater economic opportunities on the coast. The article had a neat county and state map graphically illustrating those areas which are experiencing serious depopulation. Depopulation has become so extreme there is serious talk of restoring the buffalo.

So perhaps we should look for a different explanation for de-population if it is occuring in the middle of America's religious Red State heartland as well as in secular/liberal coastal Blue States. Furthermore, it should be noted that population decline is greater in New/Eastern Europe than the more secular Old/Western Europe. Birth rates in the Muslim Middle East and Catholic Latin America are also dropping. Europe is just first in line for an overall population crash. Everyone else, be they religious or secular societies, will eventually catch up with Europe. Nobody is going to escape the coming population crash.

Something is going on here that can't be explained by secularism.

P.S. At what point does a drop in population affect their status as states? They only became states after they had achieved a certain minimum population (can't remember the exact figure). If they drop below this minimum (allowing for at least one representative in Congress), do they revert back to territories?

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 25, 2005 4:38 PM

A wise man once said:
"...human free will makes it nearly impossible to forecast future behavior based on current trends."
You'll excuse me if I don't start celebrating the GOP's massive 52-0 (counting new states Palestine and Israel) electoral college victory in 2032 just yet.

Posted by: Governor Breck at April 25, 2005 4:54 PM

They should be trying to hang on to the filibuster, instead of throwing it away. These demographic trends are going to erode their influence in the House faster than in the Senate.

The broader reasons for both demographic decline and migration patterns are not hard to identify. Young people are either moving to places where raising kids is easy, congenial and relatively low cost (including taxes), or declining to have kids at all. In the US, in red states, we have many relatively new suburbs which meet these criteria, so we have population growth. In Europe and in blue states they just don't, they really don't, so they face demographic collapse. All other avenues being closed off, the kids choose just to party on into maturity and forgo having kids of their own.

Young people, slated by their elders to work full-time, raise the next generation, pay a pile of taxes to support their elders, live in tiny apartments and submit to endless nanny-state regulations, either vote with their feet or just stand pat and say no. Where is the surprise in that?

This actually repeats the pattern of the early American colonies, where young people were to a startling degree expected to be obedient to their moralizing elders and get on with their work, but instead much of the time chose to push West.

Posted by: ZF at April 25, 2005 4:59 PM

U.S. Constitution - Article 4 Section 3
Article 4 - The States
Section 3 - New States

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Posted by: oj at April 25, 2005 5:02 PM

"no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State"

With the later exception of Texas, which by its entry treaty was given the right, to be exercised at any time indefinitely into the future, to divide itself into as many as 5 states...

Posted by: at April 25, 2005 5:27 PM

The only state that lost population in the 1990-2000 time period was North Dakota. Massachusetts lost some population last year. DC's losing population.

The ensus Population Estimates site has some interesting data.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 25, 2005 6:13 PM

What is happening is that some rural areas of Plains states are emptying out, but their cities and suburbs are growing enough to balance it.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 25, 2005 6:16 PM

Why Nebraska?

Posted by: erp at April 25, 2005 6:41 PM

Re: the Dem "bright spot" of the Pacific coast.

I don't know about any other state, but here in Washington, adding another House seat will almost certainly help the R's. The way things are carved up right now, all but 2 of the 9 congressional districts reach into the bright blue Puget Sound region, and the three Republican districts are, curiously, all landlocked.

A new congressional district will pry away some of this urban area, almost certainly freeing up at least one other Republican seat. If redistricting goes *really* well, it could consolidate the urban areas and free up as many as three largely rural, currently Dem-held districts for Republican gains--leaving the state a 6-4 R majority.

Posted by: Timothy at April 25, 2005 6:49 PM

That WA scenario is also plausible here in OR. The fastest-growing areas of the state (East and South) are conservative ... and becoming even more so with immigration.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 25, 2005 6:55 PM

Causes? The pill and abortion.

Trends: urbanites become politically collective.

Coast vs. inland: Urban centers tend to concentrate near waterborne transportation/recreation and prices follow.

Nature, seeking equilibrium, will sort this all out in time.

Posted by: Genecis at April 25, 2005 7:23 PM

ghostcat: what town/city in oregon would be best for a young family (well, young kids, olddish dad :) ?

Posted by: cjm at April 25, 2005 7:34 PM

cjm -

Not nearly enough specs in that Q for a reasonable A. Climate is a huge variable in the state, for example. As are urban/rural differences, "culture", political leanings, health care, education, shopping, etc.

There is enough variability within the Portland metropolitan area (where we live) to satisfy most tastes, but the climate is uniformly wet dark winters and dry warm summers. Not everybody's cup of tea.

Wife and I both spent two decades (plus) in VT, another two decades in the MD suburbs of DC, and moved out here in 1985. We tend to be restless, but have never given serious thought to moving again. This place feels right to us ... kind of a blend of the two places we lived before.

By the way, those "Places Rated" books can give you tons of insight on several OR cities.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 25, 2005 8:18 PM

It's hard to raise a family in Boston, San Francisco, or Boston because of the sheer expense.

On the political point: Here's where controlling statehouses and governorships is crucial: they determine which seats are eliminated. If Dems controlled the Michigan legislature, would David Bonior have been squeezed out? Ditto Saxby Chambliss in Georgia if Republicans had been in control then?

Posted by: AC at April 25, 2005 9:21 PM

AC--

That's true, certainly, that redistricting makes a difference. However, that can only slow or hasten certain other trends. When the Republican areas are growing and the Democratic areas shrinking in population, eventually there's not much more to do. When Democratic inner cities shrink and Republican suburbs surrounding it grow, well... (And if, e.g., the Dems have controlled it every time, there's not much they can do as it shifts if they already have their best districts.)

Posted by: John Thacker at April 25, 2005 9:56 PM

Timothy--

That is an excellent point about WA, and why I said the intrastate differences are important. Especially when you see, e.g., Bush win all of WA except King County. Here's the county growth map. Note that the fastest growing parts of CA are the "red" areas as well.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 25, 2005 10:02 PM

Speaking of Nebraska's population, every time the U. of Nebraska wins a football championship our state's birth rate goes up 10-15% nine months later. I'm not kidding.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 25, 2005 10:08 PM

I'd recommend Burns, the hub of beautiful scenic Eastern Oregon.

I'm being facetious. Southeastern Oregon is the emptiest part of the US outside Alaska. (Except maybe SE Utah) When I lived in Bend a couple decades ago, just east of town as you left on US 20 was a sign "Next Diesel 132 Miles". It didn't say "Fuel" because there was a pump in Brothers at a place I never saw open. And the Rand-McNally maps show several towns in Malheur and Harney Counties which just don't exist, maybe part of the mapmakers "copyright traps."

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 25, 2005 10:09 PM

Daniel Duffy wrote:

"Something is going on here that can't be explained by secularism"

In your dreams!
Religious people have more kids, it is fact; nobody disputes it, I mean no social scientist or person who isn't blinkered ideologically. In order for your belief that secularism isn't at fault to work, you looked at the world on an extremely macro level and drew the inferences you wanted; but when social scientists ask individuals about their religiousity and number of children, a clear pattern emerges.
Alot of what you say is true about patterns. It has been said that the world is experiencing alot of shocks making us more secular and yes, the first world is experiencing them first. It also appears the U.S. is leading the way in becoming more religious again.
Personally, even though what our world has experienced in the last century is extraordinary, I think the Deuteronomic Cycle is, and will always be with us; I think we are at the end of the sinful, pagan part of the cycle and just starting the crying out to God and lamenting our sins part.

Shame, shame, Mr. Duffy for trying to hijack another thread!

Posted by: Emily B. at April 25, 2005 11:02 PM
"no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State"

With the later exception of Texas, which by its entry treaty was given the right, to be exercised at any time indefinitely into the future, to divide itself into as many as 5 states


Irrelevant. You left off the key part of that sentence, "without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned". Any state could split in to 5 states as long as the state legislature and Congree agreed to it. The real point of this rule is that Congress cannot split or join states by itself. Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 26, 2005 12:01 AM

Raoul -

You might not recognize Bend nowadays. Lotsa new houses over there.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 26, 2005 12:12 AM

AOG--

Yes, but all other states need Congress's approval to split as well, if you read the entire clause. Texas, however, has already gotten Congress's approval for the right to split into up to 5 states, thanks to their treaty of accession.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 26, 2005 10:19 AM

It's estimated that Nebraska will increase its size by a third between 1980 and 2010

Since the Atlantic Monthly article was published in 1997 and projected from that date into the first few decades of the new century, this comment is an apples to oranges comparison. If you go to the BBR spreadsheet you'll see that Nebraska's population growth rate for this period is an anemic 10%. Furthermore if you take the time to go theBBR website, you'll see a more detailed demographic breakdown by county, age group, etc. What it shows is projected graying of Nebraska's population as growth rates and the proportion of the population made up of seniors increases, while similar metrics for children decrease. This is in keeping with standard demographic trends that typically show continued population growth for some time even after the birth "tap" has been turned off.

The AM article did not specifically deal with Nebraska. A copy of it can be found here:

http://www.und.edu/instruct/cstoffer/Slow%20Death%20on%20the%20Great%20Plains.pdf

Main point made by the article:

OVER the past two decades a strange phenomenon has become clear in much of the center of the United States: people have almost stopped having children. Several factors may explain this. Much of the Baby Boom generation has finished having children, and its successors, known unimaginatively as Generation X, have delayed having children and chosen to have much smaller families. These facts, which apply to the country as a whole, acquire ominous dimensions when considered alongside the "rural flight" away from the Midwest which began in the 1930s and continues today. The problem is far from just local: the area suffering from this reverse baby boom comprises 279 counties in six states, totaling nearly 470,000 square miles. Included are Wyoming and Montana, most of North and South Dakota, three fourths of Nebraska, and more than half of Kansas....

(Note that the article does not claim that Nebraska as a whole is suffering from a birth dearth. To attempt to refute the article by siting Nebraska as a whole is not honest.)

This dismal picture has very few exceptions. Three or four of Nebraska's rural counties have bucked the trend, thanks to the interstate highway system, which has helped connect them to more-populated areas, and thus has slowed rural flight. Births to residents of those counties have stabilized at 10 to 30 percent below prior levels. But the highway makes very little difference to most of the counties in the western half of the state, which remain isolated and underpopulated. And Nebraska has not even had the greatest declines in this six-state region.

(Again, note the exceptions made for Nebraska)

With fewer children, schools will be closed and consolidated. As the population drops, the Postal Service will close post offices. Government at all levels will reduce staff. Elks Clubs and American Legion posts will close, as will movie theaters and barber shops. Churches with dwindling memberships will be unable to support a pastor. In many towns the clinic or hospital will close, owing to a lack of patients and an inability to retain doctors. The effects of reduced economic input will ripple through the local economy -- particularly in rural areas, where people depend on one another. As the cutbacks continue, the value of real estate will plummet. Adding to the problem, in fifteen years Baby Boomers will begin to retire. Many will move to Omaha, Wichita, Denver, or even Texas. WOOFs (well-off older folks) will seek easier climes, and houses in many small towns will go begging. A similar fate awaits commercial property.

The heart of Red State America is experiencing a birth dearth as bad or worse as those liberal, secular Blue States. It's population crash is aggravated by out migration and the graying of the remaining population. The effects of the birth dearth will be felt in Red State America even before Europe.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 11:15 AM

While the Consitution and treaty citations are interesting, they don't answer my question.

If a state's population drops below a certain level, does it revert back to a territory? If so, what is the population level and what are the legislative or cconsistutional triggers that cause the reversion back to territorial status?

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 11:18 AM

What is happening is that some rural areas of Plains states are emptying out, but their cities and suburbs are growing enough to balance it.

While this may be true, the concentration of population in cities tend to favor the Democrats. This Red State vs. Blue State is a misnomer. The real difference is Red Rural Counties vs. Blue Urban Counties, as can be on seen at 2004 election maps shown here:

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/

Note in the "Election Results by County" map urban areas throughout Red America voted Blue, while rural areas throughout Blue America voted Red. Should this pattern hold, "farm flight", especially in the Midwest can only help Democrats.

Posted by: at April 26, 2005 11:27 AM

Nebraska has a higher than average birthrate:

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0763849.html

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 11:35 AM

And a higher fertility rate:

http://www.isteve.com/babygap.htm

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 11:38 AM

Religious people have more kids, it is fact; nobody disputes it,

Except the data. Birth rates are falling all over the world whether the society is secular, Christian, Mormon or Muslim. The drop is Muslim birth rates is especially important for Europeans. For a discussion on this issue see:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/rfmcdpei/408410.html

Some main points:

In Tunisia, fertility rates have fallen below the levels needed to sustain the population over the long term; Algeria and Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia, are not much further behind. There isnít any more reason to assume that French Muslim fertility rates will remain above replacement rate, after all, than there was to expect Western fertility rates to remain above replacement level. If anything, quite conceivably Maghrebin fertility rates could fall far below replacement levels. Societies with a certain minimal level of female autonomy, fairly low living standards, and access to contraceptive technologies can have rather low birth rates despite being generally conservative--look at Romania and Bulgaria, for instance, or Poland and China, or even Italy and Spain. It isnít difficult to imagine a situation where, one day, the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean will have a lower fertility rate than the countries on the northern shore of the Mediterranean.

The reduction in Muslim fertility rates will greatly reduce (over the next generation) the driving force behind Muslim immigration to Europe. Similar reductions in Mexican birth rates will have a similar effect on Hispanic immigration into the US. But what about the Muslims already in Europe,won't they out breed the Europeans?

As in 1990, foreigners living in France in 1999 have on average three children. The Spanish and Italians have fewer children than Frenchwoman, and Africans remain the most fertile. The older the immigration, the closer the behaviour of the foreigners is close to that of Frenchwomen. Like the French, the foreigners become mothers later than before. The schedule of births of Algerians and Moroccans, already close to that of Frenchwomen, has changed little. That of Tunisians approaches that of Frenchwomen.

How much further will French Muslim fertility rates descend? If the past century of demographic predictions tell us anything, it's that no one can tell. It is suggestive, though, that in East Asia--a socially conservative but economically prosperous areas--fertility rates have dropped far below replacement levels, below even southern and eastern Europe. A French Muslim population that by 2020 or so doesnít reproduce itself isnít going to take over France; a French Muslim population that has the same fertility rate as your average Siberian or Shanghainese is going to be hard-pressed to survive.

Everybody is or will be experiencing a "birth dearth", and since these birth rate drops are occuring in religious as well as secular societies, secularism cannot be the culprit. If you are looking for a "villain" the real cause is urbanization. Children are not economic assets in cities like they are on farms. Families in cities (except when the cities serve a funnels for newly arrived immigrants, like New York at the turn of the last century) are always smaller than those in the country. Cities have always been population sinks that fill more graves than cribs each year. Cities have always needed a fresh influx of peasants from the countryside to maintain their populations. Europe and Japan today, by historical standards, should be considered as very large cities where the raising of children is very expensive and the children provide no direct economic assets to their parents in return.

The rational thing to do in an urban environment (not the immoral or hedonistic thing) is to have fewer children. Urbanization also results in secularism as cities traditionally tend to be less religious and devoted than villages. Furthermore, the increased wealth found in cities historical improves the status of women. When the social status of women improves, they tend to have fewer children.

So, in order to reverse a birth dearth a society must do the following:

empty out the cities and force people to live in the country side;

reduce women to the status of broodmare chattel by keeping them ignorant and oppressed so they will have no other life options than to be exclusively a wife and mother;

decrease the society's standard of living and levels of education.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 11:52 AM

Except that there's no birth dearth here except among the secular.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 11:57 AM

Nebraska has a higher than average birthrate

And a higher fertility rate

You obviously didn't read the post, so I'll repeat:

Note that the article does not claim that Nebraska as a whole is suffering from a birth dearth. To attempt to refute the article by siting Nebraska as a whole is not honest.

The Great Plains as a whole (which includes part of Nebraska) is experiencing a birth dearth every bit a bad as those immoral, secular Blue States - or even those Europeans.


Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 11:58 AM

Except that there's no birth dearth here except among the secular.

All groups, whether religious or secular have shown a downward trend in birth rates. Catholic families are no bigger than those of mainline Protestants. Even the famously fecund Mormons, whose current birthrate is well above replacement levels at 2.96, have seen a significant fall from historical highs of the past century.

Soon, everyone will be below replacement levels, religiousity having little to do with it as economic concerns always trump religious indoctrination.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 12:13 PM

As a follow up let me quote from "Environmental Heresies" by Stewart Brand:

For 50 years, the demographers in charge of human population projections for the United Nations released hard numbers that substantiated environmentalists' greatest fears about indefinite exponential population increase. For a while, those projections proved fairly accurate. However, in the 1990s, the U.N. started taking a closer look at fertility patterns, and in 2002, it adopted a new theory that shocked many demographers: human population is leveling off rapidly, even precipitously, in developed countries, with the rest of the world soon to follow. Most environmentalists still haven't got the word. Worldwide, birthrates are in free fall. Around one-third of countries now have birthrates below replacement level (2.1 children per woman) and sinking. Nowhere does the downward trend show signs of leveling off. Nations already in a birth dearth crisis include Japan, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Russia--whose population is now in absolute decline and is expected to be 30 percent lower by 2050. On every part of every continent and in every culture (even Mormon), birthrates are headed down. They reach replacement level and keep on dropping. It turns out that population decrease accelerates downward just as fiercely as population increase accelerated upward, for the same reason. Any variation from the 2.1 rate compounds over time.

Everyone (Muslim, Mormon or Evangelical) will see a birth dearth very soon. It's a trend that cannot be stopped.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 12:16 PM

And again from "Environmental Heresies":

The world population growth rate actually peaked at 2 percent way back in 1968, the very year my old teacher Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. The world's women didn't suddenly have fewer kids because of his book, though. They had fewer kids because they moved to town. Cities are population sinks-always have been. Although more children are an asset in the countryside, they're a liability in the city. A global tipping point in urbanization is what stopped the population explosion. As of this year, 50 percent of the world's population lives in cities, with 61 percent expected by 2030. In 1800 it was 3 percent; in 1900 it was 14 percent.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 12:19 PM

Nope. There's a direct correlation of higher birthrates to religious belief, with the religious considering three or more lids to be the norm. That's why their rates are pretty stable while those for the secular are imploding.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 12:20 PM

America has stopped it. The Muslims will be able to do so too. Birthrates are a function of the value placed on children, family, the future, etc., which is high for the religious and low for the secular.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 12:23 PM

There's a direct correlation of higher birthrates to religious belief

I hate to be obvious, but correlation is not causation. For a cause look at urbanization which results in both declining birth rates a secularism.

America has stopped it.

Echo of the baby boom, nothing more. Long term trends remain downward.

The Muslims will be able to do so too.

Not bloody well likley once Mulsim women get a taste of Western style gender equality and freedom.

Birthrates are a function of the value placed on children, family, the future, etc., which is high for the religious and low for the secular.

Which is high for rural and low for urban. Again you confuse cause and effect. Those living in urban areas tend to be far less religious than those living in the country side. Those living in urban areas also tend to (for rational economic reasons) have fewer children. Both secularism and low birth rates stem from urbanization, there is no direct relationship between the two.

An atheist living in a pre-industrial farm village would have just as much economic incentive to have a large family as his religious neighbors. However, one seldom find atheists outside of chic urban areas.


Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 12:57 PM

Daniel Duffy said:

about how most of the Great Plains states from Montana to Nebraska are experiencing a drop in population.

Untrue. Untrue, untrue, untrue. Consider the Census 2000 to 2004 population change map. Outside of North Dakota, the Great Plains states are all growing, and the region is growing faster that, e.g., the Northeast. It is growing slower than the US average, yes. The birth rate may indeed be slowing also, yes.

But your statement that the region's population is already dropping is completely untrue.

Posted by: at April 26, 2005 12:58 PM

Daniel Duffy said:

about how most of the Great Plains states from Montana to Nebraska are experiencing a drop in population.

Untrue. Untrue, untrue, untrue. Consider the Census 2000 to 2004 population change map. Outside of North Dakota, the Great Plains states are all growing, and the region is growing faster that, e.g., the Northeast. It is growing slower than the US average, yes. The birth rate may indeed be slowing also, yes.

But your statement that the region's population is already dropping is completely untrue.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 26, 2005 12:59 PM

But your statement that the region's population is already dropping is completely untrue.

Bit of hyperbole on my part. I should have written "experiencing a drop in birth rates". IIRC only Japan and Russia have experienced true population declines.

The rest of the world will inevitably follow.

Posted by: at April 26, 2005 1:35 PM

Ah, well, then. Yes, the rural counties of the Great Plains are actually suffering drops in population. But the suburban and urban counties of the Great Plains states are not.

One must, of course, separate Idaho from the Great Plains states. Idaho is growing very quickly.

Rural areas are growing slowly or falling; urban areas are growing slowly or falling. Suburban areas are growing very quickly. Areas a little bit away from the cities are growing quickly. So the fast-growing parts of WA, CA, and OR are not in their big cities, but away from them. The states neighboring the Pacific Coast are growing the quickest of all-- Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and Utah.

But out to 2030, only West Virginia, North Dakota, and DC are expected to lose population. Iowa, Ohio, and New York will be nearly stagnant. Check out all the various census data.

Slow growth: Northeast minus New Hampshire, Midwest minus Minnesota, much of the Great Plains, and the "backwards" Southern states of West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and somewhat Kentucky.

Fast growth: Pacific Coast, Mountain Time Zone neighboring the Pacific Coast, the "New South" of Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Tennessee, and South Carolina, and Alaska and Hawaii.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 26, 2005 1:55 PM

Mississippi and Louisiana are slowed down perhaps mostly because of the dramatic population falls in the (mostly poor and black) Mississippi River Valley counties, if you look at the census data and maps. It's really quite interesting.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 26, 2005 1:57 PM

"...but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state."

West Virginia did just that, carving itself out of Virginia to become a state during the beginning of the Civil War. Perhaps just how this passed the constitutional muster should be asked of our well know scholar and expert on the U.S. Constitution, Sen. Byrd, of West Virginia!

Posted by: foster at April 26, 2005 2:05 PM

Well this thread appears to have run out of steam. To summarize: only societies that keep women "barefoot and pregnant" can expect high birth rates. So you can either treat women with decency or have a high birth rate.

You can't have both.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 2:15 PM

One is obviously more important than the other.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 2:36 PM

So you can either treat women with decency or have a high birth rate.

You can't have both.

Not entirely true. You're confusing population growth with birth rate in many of these places. Quite a few of the Plains states have acceptable birth rates, but also high migration towards their cities and suburbia. The US birth rate, even excluding immigration, reminds reasonably high.

One also expects Mr. Judd to make a comment about what evolutionary theory says about "treating women with decency" if that truly leads to a birth rate below replacement.

Incidentally, in most ways Japan is far behind the US in treating women equally, and yet has a very bad birth rate. Partly that's because women want to avoid the unequal treatment that they get after marrying (having to quit their job, etc.) and can do so by avoiding it.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 26, 2005 2:44 PM

Daniel:

There you go again, clouding the issue with facts.

The salient, central fact being female autonomy. Wherever women posses it, regardless of belief, they choose to significantly limit family size.

You noted above the current Mormon fertility rate of 2.69. That is down from 5.5 in 20 years.

If that isn't a precipitous decline, then there is no such thing.

Secularism isn't the "problem" here, because religious belief isn't the solution.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at April 26, 2005 2:52 PM

daniel:

No.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 2:53 PM

daniel:


The Great Plains have higher than average birth and fertility rates.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 2:54 PM

Jeff:

The secular don't reproduce at replacement level, the faithful do. I'm fine though with your side thinking it's no problem.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 2:56 PM

We're getting less urban, not more and more religious not less. We aren't Europe.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 3:02 PM

One is obviously more important than the other.

Which one?

No

"No" to what?

The Great Plains have higher than average birth and fertility rates.

Which average? Data, please.

We're getting less urban, not more

Data please.

The secular don't reproduce at replacement level, the faithful do.

I hope this isn't a circular argument where you define "faithful" as those with large families. Many a devout family has 3 or fewer kids (like the Judds for example).

And if secularism is the cause of low birth rates, why have Morman birth rates plumetted?

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 3:17 PM

Incidentally, in most ways Japan is far behind the US in treating women equally, and yet has a very bad birth rate. Partly that's because women want to avoid the unequal treatment that they get after marrying (having to quit their job, etc.) and can do so by avoiding it.

I half agree with this generally inciteful comment. Japanese women today have freedoms and options unthinkable to women just ageneration ago.


Posted by: at April 26, 2005 3:23 PM

Families trump careers

No you don't lose statehood

It's cited above

Mormons rates have "plummeted" to high--they won't ever be low.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 3:25 PM

Yes, now Japanese women get to be part of a dying civilization instead of a rising one. What progress.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 3:28 PM

Daniel:

Further to your substantial injection of well grounded observations into this subject.

Italy has the lowest fertility in Western Europe.

It also has extortionality taxed fuel, and extensive rail & public transportation.

However, despite all that, those darn people simply refuse to give up the freedom personal transportation provides.

As it happens, Italy also extortionality taxes vehicles with engines larger than (if memory serves) two liters.

Which means very few Italians can afford other than tiny cars, which can only carry tiny families.

Cause & effect? Hard to say without further research.

But distilling everything to mere religious belief, particularly when the trend is truly secular in the economic meaning of the term, is suggestive of elevated levels of antibodies to rigorous analysis.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at April 26, 2005 3:38 PM

Italy is secular statist, thus no kids.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 3:42 PM

So not to put too fine a point on it OJ, you're quite willing to limit freedom for women if it means preserving the, er... volk?

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 3:50 PM

Of course, but that won't be necessary. They realize it already.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 3:55 PM

I half agree with this generally inciteful comment. Japanese women today have freedoms and options unthinkable to women just ageneration ago.

What exactly do you think that I am trying to incite? I certainly hope you meant "insightful." :)

That as may be, while single Japanese women have freedom and options unthinkable to women just a generation ago, the options for married Japanese women remain much more limited. And it is that that pushes so many to delay or avoid marriage. This is merely an aside noting that an expectation than married women will be "barefoot and pregnant" does not necessarily increase birthrate; at least not during a period of rapid change.

We're getting less urban, not more

Largely a matter of definition. Want data? Here's ome. The Census site has more. As I mentioned, the percentage of people living in genuinely rural districts is certainly decreasing. At the same time, the percentage of people living in high-density urban areas is also decreasing. The strongest growth rates are being seen in suburban areas, which are certainly not rural, and counted as metro areas, but neither urban in the classic definition of a city. Net migration favors nonmetropolitan areas, although mostly from massive net migration out of 5,000,000+ cities. Again, this masks a trend of migration towards suburban nonmetro areas, with migration still occuring out of the most rural areas. (Another trend confusing things is the reclassification of suburban area as metro.) Immigrants are more likely to settle in larger cities, though, balancing out some of the domestic migration.

From here from the Census:

"In 2000, the central city population represented a smaller share of the U.S. population than it did in 1950." (page 15 of the PDF, page 9 of the report)

Yet OTOH, from the same report, you can see pages 36-38 and so on for information that the percentage of people living in metropolian areas has increased-- but the percentage of people living in central cities has declined. It's suburbs which have gained. Many more supporting facts in that quote; the percentage of people living in some sort of metropolitan area (and a large one) has increased, along with population density overall (pg 40-42). Yet, the population density of central cities themselves has decreased (pg 43). The percentage of people living in metropolitan areas has increased, but the percentage of people living in the ten largest areas has decreased. (pg. 50)

In short, it's suburbs. Not big cities, not rural areas. Suburbs are where the growth is at.

And certainly transportation and population density makes a difference. Australia even seems to be having an effect by increasing the tax subsidies for having a child.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 26, 2005 4:20 PM

My home state of North Carolina is, depending on the precise definition used, either one of the most or least urban states by population. Unlike Western states where almost everyone lives in the one big city or its suburbs, or Northeastern states which are all urban, North Carolina is dotted with many, many small cities and towns. 8.5 million people in a state where Charlotte at 600,000 (1.5 million in the metro area) is the largest city. We're spread out closer to evenly than most other states.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 26, 2005 4:24 PM

Of course, but that won't be necessary. They realize it already.

With the exception made for your wife, of course.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 26, 2005 4:27 PM

She's no exception.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 5:16 PM

John:

You don't raise a family in the city.

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2005 5:17 PM

The important point is that Michael Barone agrees with OJ that the realignment will help the GOP. He knows more about American politics than anybody else on planet earth, and he's usually pretty good about keeping his own personal desires (he's conservative) out of his analysis. So I've gotta give Mr. Judd the benefit of the doubt here.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 26, 2005 11:52 PM
« WRONG QUESTION: | Main | SPOTS, BARS, PEPPER...: »