The Politics of Procreation: Post-familialism

The Politics of Procreation: Post-familialism, by Joel Kotkin.

Throughout most of history, starting a family was a task that most people either aspired to or dutifully performed. Today, that is increasingly not the case…

Since 1960, the percentage of people living alone in the United States — where the percentage of Americans who are mothers is at its lowest in over three decades — has grown from 10 to 30 percent. …

Nearly 70 percent of China’s adults aged between 18 and 36 are on their own; the country now has 200 million unmarried adults, including 58 million single people between 20 and 40 years of age. The percentage people living alone in China, once virtually nonexistent, has risen to over 15 percent since 1960. …

In many big cities, the long dominant bourgeois family model has been increasingly replaced by a preference for single and unattached living. This trend was powerfully influenced by the rise of bohemianism in the twentieth century, which stressed individual empowerment over family obligation. …

Throughout the world, the urban centers that dominate contemporary economy and culture — Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Sydney, and San Francisco — are becoming “demographic graveyards.” In Beijing and Shanghai, the fertility rate is barely one-third of that needed to replace the current population. …

Good for the political left:

For progressives, the shift to post-familialism promises almost unlimited power, particularly in urban areas. Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg has noted that the singles, particularly single women, represent the Democratic Party’s largest core constituency, with two-thirds voting for Democrats.

As families have fled from the largest cities — particularly their inner cores — the urban electorates have become almost Soviet in their voting patterns, with Democratic majorities upwards of 80 compared to 60 percent as recently as two decades ago. Overall in 2016, 52 percent of married people voted for Trump, while Clinton took 55 percent of the single vote. …

The 11 states with the lowest fertility rates — including New York, California, and Massachusetts — are all hotbeds of progressivism, and unassailably Democratic. …

The growth of the Green Party in Europe, and pro-green sentiment in Australia, has been greatest in the heavily childless core cities, and less marked in the suburbs or smaller towns. …

China will slow down:

China’s working age population (those between 15 and 64 years old) peaked in 2011 and is projected to drop by over 200 million by 2050. … By then, China’s ratio of working to retired people is expected to have more than tripled, one of the most rapid transitions in history.

Overall, world population growth could all but end by 2040, suggests Austrian demographer Wolfgang Lutz, and begin to decline as early as 2060. …

The religious comeback:

Yet, in the long run, the anti-natalists could face an unexpected turnaround. The heirs of the post-familial city are not reproducing themselves, leaving only a digital legacy. …

Ultimately, the believers and families may have the upper hand. By 2050, for example, Islam may constitute a larger faith community in Britain than the Church of England, the state-sanctioned but hardly faith-centered Christian denomination. The family-centric Mormons, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, continues to thrive, while the more “progressive” Protestant faiths lose parishioners. Among Jews, the increasingly strident and politicized Reform movement is demographically stagnant and aging. Today, the Orthodox constitute the majority of Jewish children in the New York metropolitan region, and by 2100, they are projected to become the majority of the Hebraic community in Britain.

“No matter how many communes anybody invents,” the late anthropologist Margaret Mead suggested, “the family always creeps back.” This will prove to be the case in the decades ahead. Greens, progressives, and feminists may seek to weaken this most precious institution, but in the end, they cannot manufacture future generations. As they have done from primitive times, families create the future, in the only way humanity can remain fundamentally human.

The left loses, but wrecks everything in the process. Sigh.