Tag: Demography

Playing the Long Game in the Culture Wars


shutterstock_262016981In the end, strongly religious people will win the culture war because they have babies and those babies do not grow up to be atheists. Between 70% and 75% percent of the children of Evangelicals do not leave the faith when they grow up. With an average birthrate of 2.5 kids per woman, that means that Evangelicals will be a growing segment of the white vote over the coming decades and will gain modestly over all, even assuming the kind of immigration foreseen in the comprehensive immigration reform bills of the last decade or so. Moreover, evangelicals are effective in evangelism, getting nearly 11% of their members from adult conversions, and the retention rate for conversions is very high. So, going into the future, Evangelicals grow and do not shrink. Right now,  American’s elementary schools are filled with far more religious people than they had with the Millennial generation. If demography is destiny, as the Democrats say, liberals are in a for a rude surprise starting around 2030.

Who else is benefiting? Mormons gain very little from evangelism but they have lots of children and have incredibly high retention rates. In the early 20th century, Mormons were just 40% of the population in Utah.  Now, it is 58%. Over the next decade or so, Mormons will make the purple states of Colorado and Nevada a bit more red. This is all form Mormons having a lot of children who stay Mormon.

Who is losing the demographics game? Mainline protestant churches. They are having fewer children and their retention rate for their children is only 50%. All the groups that grow from evangelism — especially the secular “nones” (who grow more from evangelism then any other group in the United States) and Evangelicals — take from Mainline Protestants, liberal Catholics, and immigrants. That’s one reason why so many evangelical leaders like open or nearly open borders. So, when you hear about social conservatives getting older, what they are talking about is the Jimmy Carter voter who always thought the idea of Same Sex marriage was icky is getting older and dying.