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Will Changing Demographics Make the U.S. More Conservative, Religious? Will Changing Demographics Make the U.S. More Conservative, Religious?

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The Next America - Politics 2012 / THE NEXT AMERICA

Will Changing Demographics Make the U.S. More Conservative, Religious?

photo of Stephanie Czekalinski
May 8, 2012

There’s no doubt that America’s changing demographics will affect the nation's political system.

Recently, much of the discussion has focused on how tomorrow’s more diverse society could hand Democrats a political advantage. Many politicos have pointed to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s “Latino problem.” (Read here and here.)  But it’s possible that some experts have been misreading the demographic tea leaves, according to an article in The American, the online magazine of the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank based in Washington.

The arrival of religious immigrants and the tendency of religious fundamentalists to have more children earlier than their secular sisters could cause American society to lean right, Eric Kaufmann wrote on Tuesday.

If Latinos continue to identify with Democrats, and if the Latino population continues to grow as it has, it will shift the balance between the two parties by 2.5 points in the Democrats’ favor over the next 30 years, according to Kaufmann.

But the religious views of immigrants, many of whom Kaufmann says will come from devout regions of the world, could push the U.S. to the right.

“As the secular regions age and depopulate, they will replenish their workforce with religious immigrants, injecting religion back into society and politics,” Kaufmann wrote.

Republicans could also offset Democrats’ gains through immigration if fertility among conservatives continued to outstrip that of liberals. Family size, which was once a matter of survival, is now a value choice.

“Seculars can delay having children and opt for fewer, while the religious--especially fundamentalists--have then earlier and more often,” he wrote. “Were immigration cut in half, however, the GOP would quickly begin to close in on the Democrats beyond 2040.”

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