Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Monday, March 15, 2010


The wealthier and better educated populations in the blue states have lower divorce rates and teen pregnancy rates than do the Bible Belt red states according to a new study.  This would appear to be counter-intuitive to most people, because of the success conservatives have had in demonizing liberals.  Well it turns out that the more liberal states are what traditional conservatives would call more moral.  The reason?  Apparently "It's the economy, stupid!"

h/t Corrupting Conservatives One at a Time

High divorce rates and teen pregnancy are worse in conservative states than liberal states
By Naomi Cahn and June Carbone Naomi Cahn And June Carbone –
Fri Mar 12, 11:43 am ET

Washington; and Kansas City, Mo. – Ask most people about the differences between families who live in “red” (conservative) states and “blue” (liberal) states, and you’ll hear a common refrain: Massachusetts and California are hotbeds of divorce and teen pregnancy, while Nebraska and Texas are havens of virtue and stability.

The reality is quite different. And the evidence should force all of us – conservative and liberal alike – to think carefully about the policies we set to help American families thrive in the 21st century.

According to a new federal study, women with a college education are much more likely to be married than are women who have never graduated from high school. And men and women who married after the age of 25 have lower divorce rates than couples who were married at younger ages.

We could have predicted these results. The US family system, which once differed little by class or region, has become a marker of race, culture, and religion. A new “blue” family paradigm has handsomely rewarded those who invest in women’s as well as men’s education and defer childbearing until the couple is better established. These families, concentrated in urban areas and the coasts, have seen their divorce rates fall back to the level of the 1960s, incomes rise, and nonmarital births remain rare. With later marriage has also come greater stability and less divorce.

Societal support for high school sweethearts who want to tie the knot at graduation or for shotgun weddings – where the bride is accidentally pregnant – no longer exists.

Difficulties in the “red” world, meanwhile, have grown worse. Traditionalists continue to advocate abstinence until marriage and bans on abortion. They’ve said an emphatic “no” to the practices that have made the new “blue” system workable.

Yet, paradoxically, as sociologist Brad Wilcox reports, evangelical Protestant teens have sex at slightly earlier ages on average than their nonevangelical peers (respectively, 16.38 years old versus 16.52 years old), evangelical Protestant couples are also slightly more likely to divorce than nonevangelical couples, and evangelical mothers are actually more likely to work full time outside the home than their nonevangelical peers.

While the devout who make traditional marriages work have happy stable lives, economic circumstances have made it harder to find matches that support gendered family roles and to get marginal couples through family tensions.

Sociologist Paul Amato concludes that among the marriages least likely to last are those in which women who would prefer homemaking roles end up working outside of the home much more than they expected because of the husband’s inability to support the family.

These factors reflect class and cultural differences, but all of our research suggests that the great recession is likely to make things worse. The hallmark of what we have termed the blue family paradigm is training for autonomy.

With a more extended transition to adulthood, better educated youth also need greater flexibility – to navigate their developing sexuality; to switch jobs, cities, and specialties; and to renegotiate family and career responsibilities. In hard times, dual careers provide a cushion, and flexibility about gender and work roles makes it easier to trade off child care and employment.



Its funny, we spend all this money to improve our educational system and yet our drop out rate increases.

It seems to me that it should be quite obvious, if we want to assume that all people are rational and self interested that our children are trying to tell us something: That a high school education has no value.

Since NAFTA what future does a high school graduate have to look forward to? Fast Food, Walmart, meth labs, crime, or the military.

So, how does that differ from NO high school degree?

Why would a girl wait to have kids until she is married? When most likely she is going to marry someone who is going to be jumping from job to job just like her.

If child birth is all you have to look forward to then why not start early?

Why wait for a future that holds absolutely nothing for you?

Why value a life if society has no value for your life?

The contradiction of the religious right is that they want everyone to value the same things they do without realizing that values change based on ones economic situation...

But, of course if you follow the logic of Prosperity Theology then it is easy to understand why people would believe that ones values determines ones success in life especially if you believe that your success was a reward from God.

But then again you have to gloss over the reality that with that logic Bernie Madoff would have been a saint and Mother Theresa a sinner.

...what if abortions were legal and no one wanted one? does a state like Oklahoma which is very anti abortion and very anti gay rights end up with a higher divorce rate and higher abortion rate than a state like Massachusetts which allow for abortions and allow gays to get married?

Hmmm...doesn't look like it is a morals or religious issue at all but rather all about education and economics...

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Hmmm...doesn't look like it is a morals or religious issue at all but rather all about education and economics..."

I hate to keep bringing this up, but it always has been.

McCain and Palin received the majority of the high school only or less voters.

Obama/Biden received the majority of undergraduate, graduate and higher voters.

Now think about what the Texas text book loonies just did to this country.

There are conservatives in positions of power who are right now contributing to the intellectual death of America.

Weak minds are easily led.

There is method in their madness.


Intellectual, moral, and economic death of this country....

...oh and blindly follow they will....

Anonymous said...

The MSM keeps promoting the fantasy that the Bible Belt is morally superior to the liberal blue states.

They're wrong. They've always been wrong, and this study proves it.

smedley said...

Why do conservatives only copy and paste things? Can they come up with a original thought?



All original thought ended with the Founding Fathers...

Alisa Rosenbaum said...

There are conservatives in positions of power who are right now contributing to the intellectual death of America.


There are Liberals in positions of power who are right now contributing to the economic death of America. One of the most dangerous of them just postponed his trip overseas - again - so he could continue cajoling, bribing & bullying his own party who haven't yet signed onto the party line. Hmm. Must be a great bill they're pushing.

We cannot afford Obamacare. Should it pass, God forbid, we will mortgage ourselves to China, then our 'intellectual health' will be of no consequence. CTao, you think graduates face a future of nothingness NOW? Wait until we foist this behemoth on them & everything they ever work for, EVER , has to go right into the Chinese treasury. How's that for despondency? Wake up, sir.

CBO says it will reduce the deficit. Sure. What it does NOT say is that it must BORROW billions in order to do so. Borrow from whom? One guess. (Hint: They're Asian.)

And btw, I hate to keep bringing this up, but I am Master's Level educated (with post-graduate work) & supported McCain/Palin with every fiber of my being, as did almost all of my cohorts (all of whom are at least college educated). AND I currently reside in the Bible Belt. There goes your education level/SES/subculture theory.

Nice discussion you've got going here. Too bad you're all wrong.

Shaw Kenawe said...

For someone who's so degreed, you fail to understand that the polling on the less educated who voted for McCain/Palin reported the MAJORITY. We know that a MINORITY of people with advanced degrees voted the GOP ticket. And there's a deep and ineluctable mystery.

Seriously, you believe Palin is intelligent? Seriously? Clever and wiley, yes. Educated? No. You are deluding yourself if you believe that.

The MAJORITY of people with advanced degrees went for Obama/Biden.

The more educated one is the more likely one voted for Obama/Biden.

The less educated one is, the more likely one voted McCain/Palin.

Those are facts.

That you threw your vote in with the less educated is your mystery, not mine.

Alisa Rosenbaum said...

That you threw your vote in with the less educated is your mystery, not mine.

That you believe letters of cloistered, sheltered academic accomplishment after one's name supercede common sense, clear-headedness & widom achieved through real-world experience is your mystery, not mine.

Shaw Kenawe said...


And BTW, your supercilious comment indicates that you actually believe that the majority of highly educated people who voted for Obama somehow have no common sense, clear-headedness, and wisdom?


They're all wrong, and you, who worship at the feet of a novel writer--a novel that has scant respect as a work of literature and is to Libertarianism what what "Dianetcs" is to Scientology--you deem yourself smarter, more clear-headed, and wiser because you voted for a confused McCain and a barely literate Palin?

Of course you do.

Oh, and just because you have some letters after YOUR name doesn't guarantee that you know how to use them.

Purple Voter said...

This article is a misuse and mischaracterization of statistics. Let's consider two states, one conservative and one "liberal": Georgia and California.

Now let's break down the stats for each state. Georgia's African American population is 30%. That 30% of Georgia's population has an illigitimacy rate of 70%+ most of which are teen pregnancies. 85%-95% of that populution does NOT, EVER vote red. The illigitimacy rate in the caucasian community is 45%. For simplicity's sake, let's assume that those Caucasians make up the remaining 70% of Georgians and they are all conservatives. So the total illigitimacy rate which closely mimics the teen pregnancy rate is something like (30%X70%)+(70%X45%) = 21% + 31.5% or 52.5%.

Now consider California with an African American population of only <7%. Using the same rationale, the illigitimacy rate would be (7%X70%) + (93%X45%) or 4.9% + 41.85% or 46.75%.

So, an intellectually biased source like the Christian Science Monitor that you cite here can get away with saying that the red state Georgia has a higher teen pregnancy rate than the blue state California but the truer fact is that the bluest of blue voters are what is driving the higher rate in the "red" state.

I don't necessarily think people do this dishonestly. They just don't understand the stats and are so committed to their ideology that they don't pay attention.

You might also be interested that illigitimacy in the poor is around 70% for blacks, whites, and I believe Hispanics. This is not any racial judgment, just an example of how this particular article is a distortion of red vs blue behavior.

Alisa Rosenbaum said...

@Purple voter -
You are a beautiful human being. You surely must know how to use the letters behind your name. Thank you for the common sense, clear-headedness & widom you've brought to the discussion. A lovely example of how stats can be manipulated - not unlike financial #'s provided by CBO - to suit one's political agenda.

@Kenawe - Bravo! Spelling/grammar police are on the prowl? That's a tired tactic you use w/ so many who disagree w/ you, dear, & makes you appear tedious. btw, tha ward cin bee speled correktly botth waays.

p.s. "you, who worship at the feet of a novel writer--a novel that has scant respect as a work of literature..." You have no earthly idea what you're talking about.

Perhaps I've never even read Rand. Perhaps my favorite author is Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts or John Irving; maybe Philip Roth, or Thomas Merton or Bart Simpson.

My literary habits, dear madame, are irrelevant to the discussion, & your castigating a phantom only serves to prove my point from the other post: when you've run out of argument, you & your kin attack.

Well Ms. Kenawe, you can "Klaatu barada nikto," b/c it's wasted on this blogger.

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That's because liberal people know how to think straighter than the conservatives. They know how to avoid these situations in the first place. This is hardly a surprise if you ask me.

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