Total fertility by race, 1980-2010 (source). Is the end of White America being hastened by the Obama presidency? Or is it actually being postponed?
Both the right and the left are trumpeting the Obama presidency as marking the end of White America. In a harshly worded column, conservative Ann Coulter argues that Obama and the Democratic Party are deliberately changing America’s demographics:
If the same country that voted in 1980 had voted in 2012, Romney would have won a bigger landslide than Reagan did.
Most Americans don’t realize that, decades ago, the Democrats instituted a long-term plan to gradually turn the United States into a Third World nation. The country would become poorer and less free, but Democrats would have an unbeatable majority!
Under Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration act, our immigration policy changed from one that replicated the existing ethnic population to one that strictly favored unskilled immigrants from the Third World. Since 1968, 85 percent of legal immigrants have come from what is euphemistically called “developing countries.” (Coulter, 2012)
Clearly, the 1965 immigration act was key to this demographic revolution. Just as key, however, were successive legislative changes, and increasingly lax enforcement, that progressively raised the levels of both legal and illegal immigration. Also key were differences in fertility rates. Non-White fertility stayed high long after White fertility had fallen during the 1960s and 1970s.
This demographic revolution, however, had the backing of both parties. Yes, the 1965 immigration act was ratified by a Democrat president, but it won the votes of most Republican lawmakers. Supporters included then congressman Gerald Ford (R) and then congressman Robert Dole (R). In fact, there was more opposition from Democrat lawmakers:
The House of Representatives voted 326 to 70 (82.5%) in favor of the act, while the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 76 to 18. In the senate, 52 Democrats voted yes, 14 no, and 1 abstained. Of the Republicans 24 voted yes, 3 voted no, and 1 abstained. (Wikipedia, 2012a)
After 1965, there came successive moves to increase the overall intake, and these moves were likewise Republican-backed. In fact, they were signed into law by Republican presidents. In 1986, Reagan proclaimed an amnesty that not only provided about three million illegal immigrants with citizenship but also set off a baby boom:
Between 1987 and 1991, total fertility rates for foreign-born Hispanics increased from 3.2 to 4.4. This dramatic rise was the primary force behind the overall increase in the state’s total fertility rate during this period. Were it not for the large increase in fertility among Hispanic immigrants, fertility rates in California would have increased very little between 1987 and 1991. (Hill, 2002, pp. 27-28)
Bush Sr. signed into law the Immigration Act of 1990, which raised the annual legal intake of immigrants from 500,000 to 700,000 (Wikipedia, 2012c). And like his son, he declined to enforce sanctions against employers of illegal immigrants. By the time of Bush Jr., total immigration, both legal and illegal, was running at over one and a half million a year (Camarota, 2007). Far from ending illegal immigration, Reagan’s amnesty had set off a new wave of “undocumented workers” from south of the border. By 2007, the U.S. was home to an estimated 12.5 million illegal immigrants—more than four times the number that Reagan had amnestied (Wikipedia, 2012d)
Throughout this period, fertility rates continued to be much higher among America’s non-white minorities than in the majority White population. For whatever reason, Blacks and Hispanics were not participating in the economic and cultural changes that had reduced White fertility.
The other Obama revolution
The collapse of the Bush Boom led not only to the election of Barack Obama in 2008 but also to a sharp downturn in illegal immigration. Net illegal immigration may now be negative (Passel et al., 2012). Total immigration has fallen to levels unseen since the 1980s.
Non-White fertility has likewise fallen. Hispanic fertility in particular fell from a high of 2.86 children per woman in 2006 to 2.35 in 2010. The same period saw fertility declines in other population groups, with White Americans showing the smallest decline (Martin et al., 2012, see above chart). Preliminary data indicate that this convergence is continuing. In 2011, Hispanic fertility fell to the replacement level of 2.2:
[Fertility rates were] down 6 percent for Hispanic women and 2 percent for non-Hispanic black, whereas the rate for non-Hispanic white women was essentially unchanged. The GFR for AIAN [American Indian and Alaskan native] women was down 2 percent in 2011, whereas the rate for API [Asian and Pacific Islander] women rose 1 percent. The 2011 rates for non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women in 2011 were the lowest ever reported for the United States. (Hamilton et al., 2012)
If current trends continue, all of the major population groups will have fallen to about the same fertility rate by the time Obama leaves office. White Americans may even hold first place, their fertility being buoyed up by groups like the Mormons, the Amish, and the Hassidic Jews. Such a situation will be unprecedented in U.S. history.
One might object that these trends reflect the current hard times. True, but good times aren’t coming back any day soon. American economic growth will be sluggish for at least the next decade and any attempt to do better will abort spectacularly, like the end of the Bush Boom. Because the U.S. is now a mature economy, it can no longer grow at the rates we once saw during the postwar era and now see in many developing countries.
In addition, the decline in non-White fertility doesn’t seem to reflect only economic factors. Black American fertility was already falling during the 1990s and 2000s when economic conditions were much better, aside from a rise when Bush Jr. was pushing to expand minority home ownership. The same cultural factors that previously affected White fertility are now affecting all Americans, specifically a growing desire by women to marry later and limit their number of children.
What if a Republican had been in office?
Is this demographic reversal Obama’s doing? Would it have happened anyway? We can best answer these questions by asking what a Republican president would have done, like McCain in 2008 or Romney in 2012.
First, the level of legal immigration would have been raised—that was in Romney’s platform. Second, there would have been some sort of amnesty, not the same as Obama’s proposal but very similar number-wise. Some 12 million illegal immigrants would have become eligible for an “earned path to citizenship” and any children born on American soil would have automatically gained U.S. citizenship.
Third, there would have been efforts to spur another round of high economic growth through easy credit and deregulation, like the Bush Boom of the past decade. Such a boom would have done little to raise the average worker’s wage, while doing a lot to spur another influx of low-wage labor for work in construction, agriculture, and services … to mow the lawns of the rich and to build them ever more monster homes.
Finally, a Republican president would have sought to limit access to abortion, perhaps even seeking to overturn Roe vs Wade. There would almost certainly have been a move to cut off Medicaid funding for abortion and birth control.
Regardless of what happens, White Americans are headed for minority status, but that process now promises to be longer and more drawn out than previously thought … thanks to the Obama presidency. Is this a case of his party naively acting against its own interests? Not really. Most Democrats aren’t “anti-White.” That’s a trope that certain dog-whistling Republicans are pushing. Most Democrats just want to see all Americans get the same deal—the same standard of living, the same quality of life, and the same freedom, including reproductive freedom.
Is that a naïve goal? Perhaps. But is it more naïve than the Republican goal of unlimited economic and demographic growth? If pre-2009 trends had continued, the U.S. population would have soared to almost half a billion by mid-century (Beck, 2010; Camarota, 2007).
Political choices aren’t always clear-cut. Yes, Romney is light-skinned, but that’s no guarantee that he cares about the future of White Americans. His interests coincide more with those of the corporate donors who keep the Republican Party afloat. Yes, Obama is dark-skinned, but he may still be a better choice for White folks worried about their future. To be sure, the Democratic Party is likewise influenced by corporate donors both directly and indirectly (via NPOs that are nonetheless corporate-funded), but it also has internal factions, like the union movement, that oppose the globalist project of outsourcing to low-wage countries and insourcing low-wage labor. Other factions, notably the environmentalists, are critical of unlimited growth. Finally, the different ethnic factions within the party don’t form a monolithic bloc; infighting will happen, and one faction or another will make appeals for support from White Americans.
Clearly, both parties leave much to be desired. In politics, however, one sometimes has to choose between the terrible and the less terrible. As White Americans descend to minority status, they will have to learn to live by their wits.
Anon. (2012). The USA’s Total Fertility Rates by Race, 1980 to 2010, Hail to you, October 7 http://hailtoyou.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/the-usas-total-fertility-rates-by-race-1980-to-2010/
Beck, R. (2010). Immigration by the numbers – off the charts, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muw22wTePqQ
Camarota, S.A. (2007). 100 million more projecting the impact of immigration on the U.S. population, 2007 to 2060, Centre for Immigration Studieshttp://www.cis.org/articles/2007/back707.html
Coulter, A. (2012). Demography is destiny, Human Events, November 18, 2012 http://www.humanevents.com/2012/11/14/coulter-demography-is-destiny/
Hamilton, B.E., J.A. Martin, & S.J. Ventura. (2012). Births: Preliminary Data for 2011, National Vital Statistics Reports, 61(5) October 3 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_05.pdf
Hill, L.E. (2002). Understanding the Future of Californians’ Fertility: The Role of Immigrants, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_402LHR.pdf
Martin, J.A., B.E. Hamilton, S.J. Ventura, M.J.K. Osterman, E.C. Wilson, & T.J. Mathews. (2012). Births: Final Data for 2010, National Vital Statistics Reports, 61(1) August
Passel, J., D. Cohn, & A. Gonzalez-Barrera. (2012). Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero—and Perhaps Less, Pew Hispanic Center, April 23 http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/04/23/net-migration-from-mexico-falls-to-zero-and-perhaps-less/
Wikipedia (2012a). Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_and_Nationality_Act_of_1965
Wikipedia (2012b). Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Reform_and_Control_Act_of_1986
Wikipedia (2012c). Immigration Act of 1990http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Act_of_1990
Wikipedia (2012d). Illegal immigrant population of the United States http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigrant_population_of_the_United_States