An analysis comparing the results of the 2008 election and the most recent Gallup surveys with data by demographer Wendell Cox shows a remarkable correlation between the states and regions with the highest proportion of childless women under 45 – the best indicator of offspring-free households — and the propensity to vote Democratic. 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.
At the top of the list, with 80% of its women under 45 without children, stands the rock-solid blue District of Columbia. Just behind that taxpayer-financed paradise the six states with the highest percentages — Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Vermont and California — also skew Democratic. In each of these states the percentage of childless women exceeds 55%.
The top child-bearing regions are almost all deep-red Republican, both in 2008 as well as today. The top five child-bearing states — Mississippi, Idaho, Wyoming , Oklahoma and Arkansas — all generally tilt toward the GOP. So do the metropolitan areas that have the lowest percentages of childless women: the Texas metros of Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston, Mormon stronghold Salt Lake City and Memphis. The next five include right-leaning Indianapolis, Charlotte, Louisville, Riverside-San Bernardino and Oklahoma City.
Are there any risks to Democrats — and advantages to Republicans — in this new post-familial tilt? Author and New America fellow Phil Longmanargues that in the long run the “greater fertility of conservative segments of society ” could allow the palpably brain-dead GOP to inherit the country. Childless singletons may be riding high now, he writes, but as non-breeders their influence ends with their own lifespans.
To win the future, according to Democratic activists and millennial chroniclers Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, Democrats must all appeal to the nextgeneration of families. Many of today’s childless millennials are still under 30 and plan to have kids. Reflecting their own experience with divorce as children, 50% consider being a good parent their highest priority in life. A strong plurality also see themselves ending up in the suburbs.
That means Democrats could pay a big price for disdaining homemakers, the often unaesthetic chores of child-raising and particularly suburbia, because that’s precisely the place where many of today’s urban millennials will likely end up in the next decade.