Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Rkward, demographic transition.

Bill Price piqued my curiosity this afternoon. He discussed how feminism and birth control have affected the US black population.

Feminism has lowered young black women’s fertility by providing birth control, abortion and incentives to remain childless, which is mirrored in young white women of comparable socioeconomic levels. It seems that some aspects of feminism have had roughly the same result in both white and black populations, but what happened to the black middle class?

What has killed black middle class fertility and family formation is the more coercive, nastier form of feminism, which has hit the black male population with disproportionate force.

By this, I mean the punitive provisions of the 1994 crime bill and the Violence Against Women Act (not to mention earlier innovations in the child support industry). Plenty of white men have fallen victim to the excesses of contemporary family law, but the more fragile state of marriage in the black population has made it an even more critical issue for black men, and particularly those who are of a more sober, responsible disposition, because they end up paying most dearly.

Think about it this way: If you are some no-account petty crook, the state isn’t going to care much if you don’t pay a dime of child support. Sure, it makes for great headlines and talk show fare when you have some guy who knocked up a dozen or so women, but there isn’t much you can do about these knuckleheads. Put one in jail for arrears, and another instantly springs up to take his place (putting the mothers in jail would work better — females are the true key to birth control).

However, if you’re a relatively high earner, industrious and walk the straight and narrow, you’re a much, much bigger target. And if you’re a married black man, chances are you will be divorced at some point, probably while the kids are still minors, and the courts won’t be any nicer to you because you’ve got a job (although a lot of poor fools seem to think they will). If you’re single, you probably know that. So what does the intelligent, responsible black man do? He stays the hell away from marriage and does his best not to get a woman pregnant, choosing instead to keep what he earns and enjoy his liberty. All he needs to do to take the red pill is open his eyes and look around — it’s too obvious to ignore. As for black women, thanks to aggressive affirmative action, the more responsible among them are foisted into careers that all but guarantee limited fertility, and the prospect of single motherhood is no more attractive to them than to comparable white women.

Well, I thought about the demographic transition. Fortunately, index mundi will do a scatterplot for you… using 2003 CIA factbook data. This shows a scatterplot which seems to indicate the richer you are, the less kids you have. But I’m not happy with that.

Time to fire up a Statistics programme. I prefer to use R via a menu system called RKward.

Let’s just start with a descriptive scatterplot.

In this system, V3 is GDP, which you can see has a median value, world wide of around $4000. V3 is fertility ratio, which has a median, world wide, of just over two. A linear regression line is shown (the scatter plots invert, but it is the same line) but that misses a whole pile of nations that have very low fertility… so let’s do a correlation matrix.

Yes, I’m lazy. If I was writing this up properly I would give the variables a nice name.

Yep, the correlation between GDP and fertility is significant and inverse: the richer the society, the less children.

I’d like to do a Spengler and add religiosity to this, but that data is not easy to get.