The headline and the biggest portion of Ted Nesi’s WPRI article on demographic trends in Rhode Island, New England, the United States emphasizes the racial change and the declining proportion of non-Hispanic whites. Although it’s not Nesi’s fault — that’s the prevailing theme among the chattering class — I continue to find such emphasis on race distasteful.
On one hand, we’re supposed to find race to be inconsequential, to the point that judging anything by race is pure bigotry. On the other hand, we’re told to assume that a change in the racial makeup of our society is going to be a huge deal. This is the end-game of progressives’ balkanization of American society, and it may very well be the end of us (not the racial change, but the emphasis on it).
I’d suggest, though, that the real story lies in the other findings. For example:
The “States of Change” study also noted other types of demographic changes in Rhode Island. Looking at different generations, Millennials were the state’s largest cohort as of 2014, at 27%, with Baby Boomers close behind at 25% and Generation X further back at 21%. Millennials are expected to remain Rhode Island’s largest generational group until 2030, when they’ll be overtaken by Post-Millennials.
The source data doesn’t show how other states are faring, by this measure, and it’s clear that the Millennial generation is just larger than Generation X in the United States (partly because the study includes four additional years for the former). However, the relative numbers certainly don’t contradict my theory about Rhode Island’s driving out its “productive class.” Generation X currently ranges from 36 to 51, which is exactly the range that I’ve been saying has been leaving for a decade and a half as young adults have entered the period in their lives during which they start to build families and attempt to build careers decisively. They can’t do that, here, so they leave.
Another telling finding is that marriage rates are on the decline, with unmarried people making up a majority of the electorate for the first time in 2014. All of these changes lead the study authors to conclude:
“Political parties and policymakers will confront a bold new world in the coming decades,” the study’s authors concluded. “It is imperative for them to get out in front of the changes and make America work for the newest Americans, as well as for those who have long enjoyed the promise and opportunity America has to offer.”
The conclusion is where something is truly missing in the consideration, perhaps deliberately. Public policy is driving a good portion of the shifts. A redefined institution of marriage (back to no-fault divorce and now same-sex marriage) are diluting the institution; terrible economic policy is making family life more difficult and therefore less desirable; the racial makeup of the state and country is changing, at least in significant part, because of immigration policy. Why should we assume that these detrimental policies continue?
More to the point, knowing how critical marriage, healthy families, assimilation of immigrants, and a pluralistic society that values individuals, not racial categories, are to our civilization, why wouldn’t we take these projections as indication that we have to reevaluate what we’re doing? It’s absolutely amazing that the same media-and-research elite that sends out the daily message that we must rework our entire economy in order to change the (supposed) trends in the global climate treats shifting decisions like whether to marry, procreate, and immigrate as ineluctable forces of nature.
The reason, obviously, is that they think the changes that they’re generating will benefit them and advance their ideology. The rest of us shouldn’t go along.