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Saturday, August 29, 2009


Steve Sailer has written several times on the way the cost of starting a family affects people choosing to have children & therefore the political culture (red state/blue state). This is from a primary article;

The best indicator of whether a state will swing Red or Blue? The cost of buying a home and raising a family. --- Steve Sailer

“For People increase in Proportion to the Number of Marriages, and that is greater in Proportion to the Ease and Convenience of supporting a Family. When Families can be easily supported, more Persons marry, and earlier in Life.” Benjamin Franklin

As America’s coastal regions filled up, affordability of family formation began to differ sharply from state to state (disparities partially masked over the last few years by subprime mortgages and other financial gambits). CNN reported in 2006: “More than 90 percent of homes in [Indianapolis] were affordable to families earning the median income for the area of about $65,100. In Los Angeles, the least affordable big metro area, only 1.9 percent of the homes sold were within the reach of families earning a median income for the city of $56,200."

...“Manhattan’s 35,000 or so white non-Hispanic toddlers are being raised by parents whose median income was $284,208 a year in 2005.” Second was San Francisco, where the 50th percentile of income for white parents of small children fell at $150,763. That explains a lot about why the city by the bay is last in the country in percentage of residents under 18, below even retirement havens such as Palm Beach.

...And where it is economical to buy a house with a yard in a neighborhood with a decent public school, you will generally find more conservatives. It’s a stereotype that marriage, mortgage, and kids make people more conservative, but, like most stereotypes, it’s reasonably true.

...Bush was victorious in the 26 states with the least home-price inflation since 1980, while Kerry triumphed in the 14 states with the most...The correlation between low housing inflation and Bush’s share of the vote was strong, with a correlation coefficient, or “r,” of 0.72. A rule of thumb in the social sciences is that correlation coefficients of 0.2 are low, 0.4 moderate, and 0.6 high. Thus 0.72 is quite high, especially given the complexity of voting patterns.

...For example, white women in Utah lead the nation by being married an average of 17.0 years during those 27 years from age 18 through 44. In contrast, in liberal Washington D.C., the average white woman is married only 7.4 years. In Massachusetts, where Bush won merely 37 percent, years married average just 12.2.

Applied to white women, this new measure proved to be the single-best predictor imaginable of Bush’s share of the vote by state in the last two elections. Bush carried the top 25 states, while Kerry won 16 of the lowest 19.

...This theory suggests that, in order to encourage marriage and children among voters, Republicans should pursue policies that raise wages, lower demand for houses, and keep the public schools from eroding further. The most obvious way to move the country toward a more Republican future is to restrict immigration.

In Britain we have just passed the level of 50% of children being born out of marriage. Some of these will be relatively well off stable households who didn't marry at least partly because it would cost them extra taxes. However many are from single parent homes & the correlation between fatherlessness & growing up criminal is well proven.

There has recently been a considerable amount of publicity about how Britain's population is growing & the official implication is it is because of more children being born not more immigration. "It is the usual government spin to claim these numbers as a success for immigration policy despite the fact that foreign immigration is virtually unchanged at about half a million a year." The immigration figure is actually the net immigration figure - immigration (obviously not counting illegals) - emigration (to countries where family formation is easier) - Poles going home because, with the £ falling there are greener pastures elsewhere. We are also living longer.
The Office for National Statistics says the country's population is now growing by more than 0.7 per cent every year — three times the level in the 1980s.

The figures show that 791,000 babies were born in 2008 — 33,000 higher than the year before — bringing Britain's population to 61.4 million. The population last year was 60,975,000.

A quarter of all births last year were to women born outside the U.K.,

So population is growing by half a million, net migration is the same but 200,000 of those births are to immigrants & half of them are illegitimate.

The main cost of family formation is a home & as pointed out before, because of government regulation, homes cost 4 times what they could. I also strongly suspect the cost of child care is artificially pushed up by government regulation to the same degree (it is always easy to sell more government regulation of anything to do with children).

I do not think it is in the best cultural interests of the British population, or indeed of politicians who support family values, to maintain massive government disincentives to people having children & thus being politically family orientated themselves & then relying on mass immigration, by peoples with different cultural values, to increase the numbers.

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Those are some interesting juxtapositions. I'll have to think about that (but of course I agree with your basic ideas of liberalising planning laws and deregulating nurseries, i.e. barriers to entry).
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