Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Democrats betting against children?

Joel Kotkin in Forbes thinks he understands why Obama and Democrats are willing to take on the Catholic church hierarchy on mandated payments for sterilization and “morning after” pills. It’s because the power childless women, the people most committed to family planning, hold within Obama’s constituency. According to Kotkin:
states and regions with the highest proportion of childless women under 45 – the best indicator of offspring-free households — [are linked to] the propensity to vote Demo- cratic. Overall, the most child-free regions were nearly 85% more likely to vote for Obama in 2008. And according to the most recent Gallup survey, they are similarly inclined to vote Democratic today.
Kotkin offers this evidence:

➢ 80% of District of Columbia women under 45 are without children, and the six states with the highest percentages of childless women under 45 (all over 55%) — Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Vermont and California — are all Democratic states.

➢ In Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York, the percentage of childless woman under 45 exceeds 60% (national average is 53%). In the urban cores, the percentage can approach 80% (childlessness correlates with high density and less affordable housing).

➢ The top five child-bearing states — Mississippi, Idaho, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Arkansas — tilt Republican. So do the top child-bearing metropolitan areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Salt Lake City, and Memphis.

Kotkin points out that the greatest bastions of single households are Manhattan and Washington D.C., centers of the country’s media, cultural and intellectual life, where such households already constitute a majority. Kotkin doesn’t say, but may think, that the power of single households in the elite capital cities may be skewing Democratic analysis. Certainly Kotkin has for years believed Democrats are ignoring the pull Republicans have over families with children. Such families are, after all, raising the future electorate.

While I think Kotkin’s look at childless women under 45 is useful, this blog has focused instead on unmarried women, a larger voting bloc that also cares about abortion and family planning and votes Democratic.

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