Demographics is Destiny – a View from the Legislature
We’re on a half-hour break from our non-stop voting right now and my thoughts drifted back to this August 20 OCBlog post “Religion, Demographics and Red & Blue America” http://www.ocblog.net/ocblog/2007/08/religion-demogr.html.
The piece was a rehash of well-known data showing that socially conservative people tend to have more children and that because children typically follow the beliefs of their parents this has important long term implications for politics.
The post elicited some vigorous comments from the blogosphere. Joining the fray, I wrote, in part, “All this makes one wonder at the linkage with liberal secularist support for restricting growth through various measures (typically the environment these days) vs. conservative support for economic growth…”
Ever since that post, I wondered what a demographic snapshot of the 120 members of the Legislature would reveal. My statistics studies tell me that 120 is a large enough sample size to draw some conclusions. Well, I’ve crunched the numbers and here they are:
The 25 Democratic members of the State Senate have 47 children, or an average of 1.88 each.
The 48 Democratic members of the State Assembly (including new Congresswoman Laura Richardson who just left for D.C.) have 78 children, or an average of 1.63 each.
The Legislative average for the Democrats is 1.71 children per lawmaker.
The 15 Republican members of the State Senate have 42 children, or an average of 2.8 each.
The 32 Republican members of the State Assembly have 79 children, or an average of 2.47 each.
The Legislative average for the Republicans is 2.57 children per lawmaker.
Replacement fertility rate is generally thought to be 2.33 births per woman. Fertility rates below 2.33 will cause a population to shrink, above 2.33, and population will tend to grow.
Now, a statistician may observe that at these rates, the Democratic Party will cease to exist in California by about 2153, give or a take a couple of years (Note: tongue-in-cheek alert).
I’m more interested in what these fertility rates mean for public policy – in other words, do lawmakers with more children think differently about the future of California than do lawmakers without children?
In any event, the fertility rates of California’s own legislators tend to confirm the thesis of the study cited in the “Religion, Demographics and Red & Blue America” post of three weeks ago.
All the best,
State Assemblyman, 70th District