Chocolate and Gold Coins

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Why Do Liberals Have Fewer Children?

The always-interesting blog Half Sigma has a link to some interesting analysis by the magazine American Conservative showing the correlation between support for President Bush and family size. It turns out that there is a very predictable relationship there: big families liked Bush. Half Sigma wondered why this is so and gave some possibilities.

My guess is that this is really driven by the preference of women. Women who have the ambition to be the perfect wife and mother are likely to have big families. These women are likely to come from traditionally conservative backgrounds and/or think traditionally conservative themselves. Naturally, if a woman wants to stay at home and be a mother, it shouldn’t surprise people that she would want to have many children, because it is hard to justify staying at home for just one child.

On the other hand, women who want a career might find that having a large family is impractical. They might prefer one of maybe two children, or they might not want children at all. Children of working mothers are very expensive: they require day care and after school care. Children require lots of time, and working women just don’t have lots of time. It makes sense that career-ambitious women will have fewer children than stay-at-home moms. It also makes sense that career-ambitious women might be less likely to be the traditional Christian type that is the bedrock of the Republican Party. These career-ambitious women are probably more likely to be liberal because liberal women are more likely to think of success as having a career.

All of this would suggest that the nation will become more conservative over time. However there is another possibility: there may be a strong correlation between large family size and children that think their mothers are boobs.


  • Tee hee...I am a boob...but I'm a stay-at-home mom and I only wanted two kids. I DIDN'T want more, and my kids are just as expensive as those of a working mom. My only wanting two kids had nothing to do with either my religious or political beliefs, and I'm a conservative Republican. I also live, and grew up in, a rural setting, but that has nothing to do with my politics or how many kids I have...

    I chuckled over this on Half Sigma, and I don't mean to sound snotty here, I just think every mother, couple, makes their own decision based on their own wants and needs. I think this speculation, by a conservative publication no less, is ridiculous. Just another reason to throw stones at those "untraditional Liberals."

    Ah, surprising for me to say something like this, huh?

    By Blogger GroovyVic, at 10:26 AM  

  • Hi Groovyvic
    I respect any woman's career choice. But children might not repect their parent's choices.
    In our family's case, we never intended to have a large family in part because my wife works so many hours. Children need their parent's time. And I would agree that if you are going to have a large family, someone has to sacrifice his or her career and have a flexible job that allows lots of time at home.

    By Blogger Michael Higgins, at 12:51 PM  

  • "I think this speculation, by a conservative publication no less, is ridiculous."

    This is motivated by a genuine desire to undertstand voting behavior.

    It's only ridiculous if one draws a false conclusion in order to bolster a particular viewpoint. Many conservatives seem to worship "families," but I, for one, really don't think that having kids is that noteworthy (no offense intended).

    By Blogger Calico Cat, at 6:33 PM  

  • No offense taken, Calico Cat. I was stirred up, and I apologize for acting like, well, a boob. I would hope my kids appreciate that I gave up my job (not career, just a job) to stay home with them. I only ever wanted to be a mom and wife. And yes, this was meant understand voting behavior. Okay. I don't particularly "worship" families, in truth, my expericence with the whole "family" thing of late has been giant pain in the ass. I'm just doing what I think is the right thing to do, and my voting behavior had nothing to do with it. Remember, I used to be a big time Liberal when I was young.

    But, again, sorry that I took out my pissy mood on you guys.

    By Blogger GroovyVic, at 5:41 AM  

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