NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 10, 2004

Over the past decade, fertility rates among all major American ethnic groups have either remained low or fallen dramatically -- a trend that may well have a strong political impact, say observers.

For instance, demographic groups that tend to vote Democratic are having fewer and fewer children:

  • Between 1990 and 2002, fertility declined by 14 percent among Mexican Americans and 24 percent among Puerto Ricans.
  • African Americans now have a lower average fertility rate than whites, and they are no longer producing enough children to replace their population.

Conversely, religiously-minded Americans are having far more children than those who tend to be more secular:

  • In Utah, where 69 percent of all residents are Mormon, fertility rates are highest in the nation -- the state produces 90 children for every 1,000 women of child-bearing age.
  • By contrast, Vermont, the only state to send a socialist to Congress, and the first to embrace homosexual unions, produces only 49 children for every 1,000 women of child-bearing age.

Overall, fully 47 percent of people who attend church weekly say that their ideal family size is three or more children, while only 27 percent of those who seldom attend church want that many kids.

All of this is to suggest that, because religious Americans tend to vote Republican, the GOP will have a decided evolutionary advantage over the Democratic Party in determining the political landscape.

Source: Phillip Longman, "Political Victory: From Here to Maternity," Washington Post, September 2, 2004.

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