A huge political rift has developed over the last few decades between married and single Americans and people with children and those without them.
And except for African-Americans, there may be no constituency more loyal to President Obama and his party “than the growing ranks of childless and single voters,” according to Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.com.
He points to these figures:
Since 1960, the percentage of Americans over age 15 who are unmarried rose from 32 percent to 45 percent.
Since 1976, the percentage of women in the United States who did not have children by their 40s doubled to nearly 20 percent.
The number of adults who believe children are very important for a successful marriage dropped from 65 percent in 1990 to 41 percent in 2010, according to the Pew Research Center.
The number of households with children today is 38 million, about the same number as 10 years ago, although the total number of households has risen by nearly 10 million. There are now more houses with dogs than with children.
The “Single Nation,” as Kotkin calls it, has lined up solidly behind Obama. Single women prefer Obama by nearly 20 percentage points, according to Gallup, while married voters prefer Mitt Romney by a similar margin.
“Unmarried women (along with ethnic minorities, the poor and the workers in the public bureaucracy) are rapidly becoming a core constituency of the Democratic Party, in a sense replacing the ethnic white working class,” writes Kotkin, who is also a distinguished presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University and a contributing editor to the City Journal. His article first appeared in The Daily Beast, and his latest book is “The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050.”
Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg is urging the party to target singles, in particular single women, who he calls “the largest progressive voting bloc in the country.”
But Kotkin adds that the Single Nation’s influence on politics may not persist for more than a generation, because “after all they, by definition, will have no heirs,” while “generally conservative family-oriented households often have two or more children.”