by Ed West
Monday, 16
November 2020
Spotted
15:44

Later-life marriage means fewer conservatives

by Ed West
there is reason to be optimistic for the future — if you’re a Democrat.

Whatever the disappointments of the US election, there is reason to be optimistic for the future — if you’re a Democrat, that is. For conservatives, it’s unending despair.

This was one conclusion from David Shor’s interview with New York Magazine, on why demographic trends favour the Left.

The data scientist, a rare example of someone who has done well from cancellation, observed that:

One big, really underappreciated social change is that, relative to 20 years ago, the average age of first marriage has gone up by almost a decade. Which is insane! And at the same time, fertility rates have dropped tremendously. I’m not going to comment on whether or not that’s good or bad in a nonpolitical context. But I think the reality is that Democrats are now going to claim a larger part of the life cycle.
- David Shor, New York Magazine

He continues:

We previously were going to start having people turn more conservative at 26. Now that’s been pushed up to 34 or 36. That’s actually very meaningful in terms of votes and in terms of how much longer we can expect millennials and zoomers to stay overwhelmingly Democratic. Also, zoomers actually seem to be incredibly liberal, even relative to older millennials, so far. So there’s reason for hope.
- David Shor, New York Magazine

Among all the US election voting data, which political nerds across the world drool over every four years, perhaps the most curious fact is the enormous voting gap between married and unmarried white women. Despite being as large as 20 points in some elections, it is also one of the least analysed, certainly compared to the much smaller gender gap (although the latter is growing, for related reasons).

Simply put, the more people in any society who are married with children, the more conservative that society will be.

Liberalism is about the freedom of the individual, while western conservatism is about maximising the success of the nuclear family. That is why western conservatism is fundamentally different from the “family values” of non-western traditions, which are about maximising the success of the extended family.

Both western conservatism and liberalism stem from the same WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic) cultural origins, but one has taken the idea of individualism further.

The marriage gap has been well-known for well over a decade but, as testimony to how ideas carry status and stigma, it is barely commented upon because of who first noticed it: controversial Californian blogger Steve Sailer.

The marriage gap also leads to the “dirt gap” — the more expensive the house prices, the more people vote for Left-of-centre parties, because housing costs suppress family-formation.

This is why runaway housing costs are an existential crisis for our own Conservative Party, building a bonfire under their future election prospects as the younger generation move Left. (It is also the subject of my book, the paperback of which will be out in January.)

Lucky, then, that the only person in Number 10 who appreciated the enormity of the housing crisis problem hasn’t just resigned.

Join the discussion


  • November 20, 2020
    Absolutely doomed though they did manage to win an 80 seat majority at the last election. Read more

  • November 20, 2020
    My comments are exactly the way I see things. I don't do irony Read more

  • November 20, 2020
    I did. I 'grew up' playing on the bomb dumps of North Southwark in the '40s . Got strong immunity system from physical diseases .Alas can't shake off seeing the effect of social diseases on many people. Read more

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