Following Donald Trump’s presidential victory in 2016, Republican-leaning areas of the United States observed a “sharp increase” in births, dubbed the “Trump baby bump.” However, Democratic counties experienced a baby slump, a new study has revealed.
Republicans may have chosen to have more children as a result of Trump’s administration since it improved their economic optimism, as suggested by researchers. In the first two years of Trump’s presidency, there were between one and two percentage points fewer infants born to Republicans than to Democrats.
Study co-author Professor Gordan Dahl, of the University of California, San Diego, said: “The size of the change is equivalent to changes in birth rates that occur after economic shocks or in response to policies designed to affect birth rates.
“For example, when unemployment drops by one percent, it increases national fertility by one to two percent, and when other countries provide a $1,000 subsidy to mothers for having a child, fertility rates rise by about two percent.”
The 2016 scenario provided the perfect natural experiment due to the polarization of the U.S. and the surprise of the result.
Trump’s win in 2016 was unexpected by the majority of Americans. The shock led to a sharp change in optimism among Democrats and Republicans, according to several different surveys.
The Civiqs survey showed that within four months of the election, Republican and Democratic outlooks on the economy had flipped. A strong majority of Republican voters believed economic conditions were getting better, reversing their formerly pessimistic view.
However, the election had the opposite effect on Democrats. Most believed that the economy was getting worse.
The team also looked at the birth rates among Hispanic people and non-Hispanic people. Dahl said: “Hispanics were singled out by the Trump campaign and voted approximately two-to-one for Hillary Clinton in 2016.”
The research team found that Hispanic mothers had fewer babies after the election.
A drop in birth rates among Hispanics relative to non-Hispanics was equivalent to 2.3 percent of the national birth rate. This was even larger when compared to groups that heavily voted in favor of Trump and rural and evangelical white people.
Looking at previous elections the pattern seems to fit.
Barack Obama, who was long projected to win the presidency in both 2008 and 2012, had no effect on birth rates. Yet, they found a similar effect to Trump in 2000 when George W. Bush was elected after Al Gore was favored to win. But the change was much smaller compared to the Trump presidency.
Co-author Dr. William Mullins of the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego, said: “Our research really illustrates how polarized the country has become over the last 20 years.
“Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided on their policy priorities and worries about the future, including on topics such as the environment, inequality, moral values and immigration.
“Polling data on voters’ satisfaction with ‘the way things are going in the U.S.’ reveals members of the two parties see the country through almost completely different lenses.”
To gather their information researchers used birth certificate data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). They also compared this information to county-level Census Bureau data. This revealed the number of Democratic and Republican voters in the 2016 election.
To gauge the effects on Hispanic mothers, they were able to use the ethnicity listed on birth certificates.
The study was published in the American Economic Review.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker.