As my last post indicates, I have been reading up on demographics lately. One of the things that I find interesting is that non-religious population blocs are self-destructive. They don’t have babies at the same rate as religious people (of any faith) do and therefore deplete their ranks over time.
The practical implications for this are many. Goldman’s writes, in his book “How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam is Dying, Too), that religious “nones” will top out in the USA at less than 20% and the slightly decline. This is because the total fertility rate driving their movement is abysmal (conversion probably won’t be substantial enough to raise the numbers much). Eric Kaufman sums up the point: “Liberalism’s demographic contradiction – individualism leading to the choice not to reproduce – may well be the agent that destroys it” (as quoted by Goldman). I call this the “Self-Destruction Principle” and its what we see happening places like Western Europe and Japan.
Conversely, the total fertility rates among religious people is much higher. In the regard the US is forging a much different path than our European counterparts. For example, the stereotype of large Catholic families is true: they lead the pack with a higher TFR than Protestants. This has led some researchers to conclude that Catholics will ultimately win the battle over which of the two will make up the largest percentage of the US population. Catholics have been aided by hispanic immigration to the US. Most of the projections include this factor. However, I think this is changing and it will mean that Protestants, particularly conservative Evangelical Protestants, will enjoy a surge.
A couple of factors indicate that this may be the case. First, hispanic immigration to the US has substantially slowed. Both the economic downturn in the US and the rising economic situation in Mexico have contributed to this reversal. Second, so many hispanics have converted to Evangelical brands of Christianity that we can no assume that all of these immigrants are Catholic. So, among the hispanic immigration flow we have a shifts.
Additionally, widespread religious persecution globally is forcing many people to immigrate to the US. A recent article in the Orange County Register (a good location if one wants to understand Asian immigration) notes:
Christians, who make up some 42 percent of Asian-Americans, face surveillance and repression, particularly, in China, where religion is tightly regulated, and dissent from the party line can land adherents in jail. Over half of Asian immigrants, Pew notes, cite freedom of religion as a key advantage of living in America. New faith-based migration could also be seen soon among Christians fleeing increasingly Islamic regimes in Egypt, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. (link to the article)
These are not “chreasters” (Christians who come to church on Christmas and Easter). They are fervent believers who want to spread their faith. I imagine that we will see an uptick in outreach programs, both here and abroad.
The secular mind is unable to comprehend an American future that is more religious than the current America. It could be that the Obama era is the high-water mark over the next century for secular liberalism. This will be due in part to demographic shifts that are slowly, but inexorably, filling the US populace with more religious people.
After that, all best are off as global population decline will alter humanity as never before, staring sometime around 2075.