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« Elsewhere | Main | Yahmdallah on Ebert; Darrell's Stories »

November 16, 2006

Out of Wedlock Birth Rates

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Are we importing a lot of what we don't need? Heather Mac Donald points out that "nearly half of the children born to Hispanic mothers in the U.S. are born out of wedlock ... Hispanic women have the highest unmarried birthrate in the country -- over three times that of whites and Asians, and nearly one and a half times that of black women."

Mac Donald's conclusion:

Given what psychologists and sociologists now know about the much higher likelihood of social pathology among those who grow up in single-mother households, the Hispanic baby boom is certain to produce more juvenile delinquents, more school failure, more welfare use, and more teen pregnancy in the future.

Why are we so determined to create problems where none are necessary?



posted by Michael at November 16, 2006


Dunno. But Glen and Alec will say that it's a wonderful thing.

Posted by: sj on November 16, 2006 4:48 PM

"The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils." (Enoch Powell)

Posted by: dearieme on November 16, 2006 5:28 PM

well then, will Glen and Alec take our place in footing the tax bill and being the crime victims for this "wonderful thing"?

Posted by: Zetji on November 16, 2006 10:47 PM

Someday they'll be changing our adult diapers in the nursing home :)

Posted by: Peter on November 16, 2006 11:21 PM

There is something surreal about the Bush/Rove/WSJ monomania to latinize America. What's driving him? It's clear that this is destroying the Republican Party.

This wierd inscrutability in everything Bush does leads one to speculate wildly. Does, for example, the Mexican government have photos of something that happened in Tijuana 40 years ago?

Or is there some demonic force has taken over whole swaths of this nation.... The same force that's propelling the worldwide surge of Isalm?

What gives?

Posted by: Hugh on November 17, 2006 6:09 AM


Two things. An out of wedlock birth does not necessarily mean a single parent household. How many go on to marry after having a child: how many are in stable but unmarried relationships?

'The most powerful Hispanic family value—the tight-knit extended family—facilitates unwed child rearing. '

That doesn't sound too bad though, does it?

The other thing is, illegitimacy rates of 45%? Why, next thing you know you'll be turning into Europe!

Posted by: Tim Worstall on November 17, 2006 6:37 AM

Didn't we just cure a major illegitimacy crisis in the mid-nineties with welfare reform? An illegitimacy crisis that was created by our government wizz kids in the first place, I might add.

And now they're engineering another one!

More and more the attitude of our elites on immigration reminds me of the old Brecht quote: "Would it not be easier/ In that case for the government/ To dissolve the people/ And elect another?"

Posted by: Brian on November 17, 2006 8:43 AM

- sj and Zetji – RE: But Glen and Alec will say that it’s a wonderful thing.

I am pleased that people track my comments, but I continue to be amused that some people distort my positions, apparently because they prefer either simplistic ideological cheerleading or equally simplistic anti-immigrant bashing. Others, clearly ignorant of the subtleties of American history, like to make up myths about past immigration practices and its impact on the country. Also, while I think that Glen is a fairly hardcore libertarian, I am not. In any case, he can speak for himself and has been very articulate in laying out his positions.

I am equally amused that people who want strong anti-illegal immigrant policies re-elected Bush, who has been clearly and stubbornly pro-open borders from the beginning, and who, true to form, selected an incompetent crony to head immigration enforcement. And although I favored the border wall legislation, I don’t think that Bush will ever allow it to be built, nor do I think it will do much good anyway. It’s like the phony war on drugs. People love to rail against evil and supposedly omnipotent drug lords, and even against inner city drug related crime, but the plain fact is that the drug economy is sustained by middle and upper middle class drug users. That’s where the money is.

Here is a pause for the inevitable “what about McCain, Kennedy and all those evil liberals?” When the Republicans controlled Congress as well as the White House, they never sponsored any meaningful legislation on immigration. Also, notice how some Republicans and Democrats blather about “guest worker” programs and the agricultural industry, when illegals come here and bypass farm work for more lucrative jobs in construction and service sector industries. The rhetoric about illegal immigration clearly ignores the reality. I sometimes think that this obfuscation is deliberate.

Similarly, I read very few posts here or anywhere else proposing that we strictly enforce laws penalizing entities, from corporations to the little guy who picks up illegals at a day labor site to refurbish his rental units, who gleefully employ illegals and don’t care who picks up the bill for social services. I don’t see very many people who would pass and strictly enforce laws making it mandatory to show proof of citizenship or legal residency before you could wire money out of the country.

The third richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helú, lives in Mexico, and that country has great wealth, but the Bush administration has never pressured Mexico to reform its economy, in part because they are very comfortable with oligarchies. And despite the stereotype of illegal immigrants as crime-ridden welfare-using parasites, the plain fact is that remittances to Mexico exceeds direct investment, props up that nation’s economy, and obviously comes from people who are working their butts off.

So, in this context, this stuff about out of wedlock births, while worrisome, is really a secondary issue. And as Tim Worstall points out, “… an out of wedlock birth does not necessarily mean a single parent household,” and that the reported illegitimacy rates will approach that of some European countries.”

Heather MacDonald’s figures also present data stripped from its social context. For example, she notes that “Japan’s teen birthrate is 3.9” per 1,000, but fails to note that Japanese society severely stigmatizes not only out of wedlock births, but also adoption, and so the Japanese also generously make use of birth control and abortion. On the other hand, illegals having babies is the kind of pro-life decision that Christian fundamentalists and others would heartily endorse.

Posted by: Alec on November 17, 2006 2:42 PM

Conservative opposition to abortion is a relic from a different, softer America.

The government should encourage and subsidize abortions for unmarried women.

Posted by: Rob on November 21, 2006 12:07 AM

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