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Tue Jun 25, 2019, 07:35 PM

Cradles, Pews and the Societal Shifts Coming to Politics - Seib, WSJ

Sometimes the most important trends—the ones with enormous social and political consequences—are unfolding in plain sight. New data show two of them are under way right now: Americans are going to church less often, and are having fewer babies... The steady, long-term decline in church attendance is confirmed in the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Just 29% of Americans now say they attend religious services once a week or more often. That is down from 41% in 2000.

(snip)

Politically, declining church attendance is a serious warning sign for Republicans. In the 1950s and 1960s there was no particular partisan division on this front between Democrats and Republicans, notes William McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducts the Journal/NBC News poll along with Democrat Jeff Horwitt. Starting in 1980, though, Ronald Reagan, as a presidential candidate, brought religious conservatives directly into the Republican coalition, where they have not just remained but become a core element. Conservative churches have become places where voter guides distributed in the pews steered millions of congregants toward Republican candidates. Indeed, those who say they attend religious services at least once a week voted for President Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race by a whopping 53% to 29% margin.

(snip)

The decline in America’s birthrate is equally dramatic, and similarly profound for society. The National Center for Health Statistics reported a few weeks ago that the number of babies born in the U.S. last year fell to a 32-year low. Meantime, the general fertility rate—defined as the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44—fell to the lowest level since the start of federal record-keeping. This trend has enormous economic as well as social effects. A declining birthrate means Medicare and Social Security will become even harder to finance over time as fewer new Americans enter the workforce to finance the retirement needs of their elders. The age at which workers can retire may have to be raised, and benefits limited.

As the rate of newborn Americans declines, the need for immigrants to retain a robust workforce will increase—a need that will collide head-on with growing anti-immigrant sentiment. With fewer babies growing into schoolchildren, some schools may close, and school boundaries redrawn. The nation’s higher-education infrastructure, already under enrollment and financial pressure, may have to be revamped.

(snip)

Together, these trend lines suggest significant changes in the shape of society in years to come. Some will be comfortable with them as simply signs of the natural evolution in ever-changing American society. On the other hand, such trends tend to alarm and motivate supporters of Mr. Trump, who essentially promises a return to an America of yore. Either way, they are worthy of discussion in the 2020 campaign.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cradles-pews-and-the-societal-shifts-coming-to-politics-11561382477 (paid subscription)

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Jerry Saib is the political columnist not rabid as the rest of them.

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Reply Cradles, Pews and the Societal Shifts Coming to Politics - Seib, WSJ (Original post)
question everything Jun 25 OP
shanny Jun 25 #1

Response to question everything (Original post)

Tue Jun 25, 2019, 08:03 PM

1. of course wsj would go straight to "SS benefits may need to be cut!" eom

 

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