My father wanted me aborted.
My mother chose not to listen to him. She is Catholic — not the hardcore, Bible-bearing, abstinence-endorsing type — but she was raised by conservative immigrants and adopted many of those beliefs. I owe my life to those beliefs.
Due to these circumstances, I spent a lot of my growing up thinking about relationships, sex and procreation. When I got to university — and a very liberal one — I was quickly exposed to hookup culture, widespread use of birth control and rejection of commitment.
It had me wondering: Do liberals actually have more sex? If they do, shouldn’t that mean they have more kids? In other words, does their “sexual revolution” mean their party’s base is growing?
Political power ebbs and flows, and population data is a major factor in dictating those currents.
Data from the General Social Survey indicates that in the 1970s “there was little or no difference in fertility rates between liberal and conservative women,” according to the Institute for Family Studies.
As of 2018, the gap had widened markedly, with conservative women between the ages of 30-44 averaging near 2.5 children and liberal women just over 1.5.
To approach the data another way, the survey also shows that a random sample of 100 conservative adults will raise 208 children. One hundred liberal adults will raise only 147 kids, according to Fatherly.
That gap means that conservatives could hold a political edge, as the size of liberal families continues to dwindle. The evidence that supports this idea is overwhelming. Liberals were more likely to abstain from sex and dating during the pandemic, compact liberal cities tend to constrain families to fewer children and liberal social values can push liberals to hold off on kids altogether.
While many speculated that the pandemic would unleash a baby boom, preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that the number of births in the U.S. has dropped to the lowest level since 1979.
Perhaps that’s because liberals were more likely than conservatives to stay home and alone, and in cases where liberals were staying home together, it does not necessarily mean they were reproducing.
A Kinsey Institute study in 2020 looked into the impact of the pandemic on people’s sex lives, finding that “[l]iberals were significantly more likely than conservatives to report a decline in their sex lives since the start of the pandemic,” according to Politico.
The survey began when social distancing restrictions were implemented in mid-March and looked at over 2,000 adults.
While 49 percent of liberals said their sex lives had declined, only 33 percent of conservatives said the same. Researchers argued that the differences might be due to the fact that liberals were more likely to follow social distancing guidelines as well as suffer from stress and anxiety during the pandemic, which might lower their sex drives.
Either way, it is clear that the pandemic has inhibited relationships and potential opportunities to procreate for liberals. Yet it did not have the same effect on conservatives.
If there is anything that the 2016 election showed us, it is that the liberal-conservative divide is now the urban-rural divide. Research suggests that city-dwellers, who lean liberal, are much less likely to have children due to high levels of crime, rising living expenses and the chaotic nature of the city “hustle.”
Derek Thompson delved into the childless city conundrum in a 2019 article for The Atlantic. His findings looked into a piece of data revealing that “the number of babies born in New York has declined 9 percent in the five boroughs and 15 percent in Manhattan.” At that rate, Manhattan’s infant population will be just half of what it is in 30 years.
Thompson notes that people living in the suburbs enjoy a variety of child-friendly amenities, such as parks, schools and stroller-friendly areas, making the environment much more appealing for adults considering starting a family.
Instead, New York has seen an influx of white, college-aged liberals coming to the city. Thompson explains that New York is “becoming an Epcot theme park for childless affluence, where the rich can act like kids without having to actually see any.”
As liberals continue to flood the cities, they will either be constrained to fewer children or eventually flock to the suburbs, risking mingling with people who might not share their beliefs.
For some liberals, it is not a concern for costs or space but an ideology that makes them question whether they want to have children at all.
Recently, more groups have sprung up with a message in opposition to childbearing. Conceivable Future, a network of women across America, was founded in 2015 to bring awareness to how they believe overpopulation may impact climate change.
Josephine Ferorelli, a co-founder of the group, fears that the data is a ticking clock. “The 11-year window more or less approximates a lot of our reproductive windows as well,” she told CNN in 2019. “What kind of harm will a hotter and more painful world inflict on my child?”
In addition to these groups, influential liberal celebrities and politicians have also played with the idea of not having kids in face of the “climate crisis.”
In 2019, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told her 3 million Instagram followers, “It is basically a scientific consensus that the lives of our children are going to be very difficult … Is it OK to still have children?”
Environmental concerns are just one area, but many other liberal ideas could impact birth rates — widespread use of birth control, access to abortion and rejection of gender roles.
I strongly believe that every person has the right to choose whether they have kids. I also believe that parents have the right and responsibility to educate their children.
Just as I argue that liberals might face a shortage of baby “liberals,” I also acknowledge that liberals dominate educational institutions, with elite academia flooded with left-wing professors, increasing pressure to adopt critical race theory in public schools, and a push for early childhood sex education.
The irony of it all is that it’s likely that they will be teaching the children of conservatives.
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