A prestigious study from Northwestern University comparing the birth rates of abortion advocates to the rest of Americans concludes that the shift in public opinion from pro-choice to pro-life since Roe v. Wade is the result of a demographic shift: Pro-abortion women don't have as many children, or perhaps none. (dah!)
For background, read New York City Liberals Choose Abortion NOT Procreation and also read Liberals Ask Themselves, "Why Don't Liberals Procreate?"
-- From "Big pro-life families are shifting the abortion debate" by Kevin Lewis, Boston Globe Correspondent 8/10/14
Although prochoice views became more common from the 1960s through the 1980s, the trend seems to have reached a plateau and maybe even reversed in the last two decades, especially among the younger generation, despite liberalizing attitudes towards other social issues. Sociologists at Northwestern University are proposing that this is at least partly the result of prochoice individuals having fewer offspring, which, given that offspring tend to adopt their parents’ attitudes, leaves fewer prochoice individuals in the next generation.
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From "Demographic Determinants of Trends in Public Opinion about Abortion in the United States" by J. Alex Kevern & Jeremy Freese, Northwestern University July 2014
Using the General Social Survey, we consider the relationship between population demographic trends and trends in abortion attitudes. After an initial period of liberalizing attitudes, the United States population’s attitudes toward abortion have been mostly stable over the past two decades, or even more conservative. Cohort replacement explains most of this pattern, and our paper explores the role of differential fertility in changes in how population support for abortion rights has been affected by cohort replacement. Opponents of abortion rights maintain considerably higher fertility than their pro-choice counterparts, and elsewhere abortion attitudes have been shown to have a high parent child correlation. We apply these two pieces of evidence to help explain the mitigation of the upward trend toward pro-choice beliefs in GSS data from 1976-2010. We also find evidence that fertility differential between pro-life and pro-choice individuals has grown, despite declining fertility for both groups. We are currently working to quantify more precisely how strong the force of differential fertility is on abortion attitudes, and what kinds of population dynamics may amplify or attenuate its effects.
. . . Over the 34 years of GSS data, “pro-life” individuals have had on average 27% more children than “pro-choice” individuals over the past 34 years. This cannot be explained simply by a broader trend toward higher fertility among those who are more politically conservative . . .
. . . Further investigation indicates that not only are abortion attitudes associated with fertility associated with abortion attitudes, but in proportional terms—which is what matters for cultural evolution—the gap is widening. Fertility has declined for both groups over the past 30 years, but fertility has declined far less markedly for pro life individuals. . . .
To read the entire study paper (.PDF) above, CLICK HERE.
Click headlines below to read previous articles:
Where Liberalism Flourishes, Population Diminishes
The Religious Procreate, Others Don't
Sex on the Rise, Procreation in Decline
American Trend: Fewer Children, More Animals/Pets
Utopian Dream Shattered by Reality of Birth Rate