OT: The Grapes of Wrath - A stastical view

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Submitted by harvey on April 3, 2012 - 11:14am

Fun chart showing the great migration to CA:

http://www.census.gov/1940census/1940_da...

An interesting comment in the first paragraph: "The slowdown in population growth [in the 1930s] was due to reduced immigration and lower fertility levels [...]"

The "lower fertility levels" seemed curious. A quick google found this:

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-f...

Seems there is a correlation between the economy and birthrates.

Submitted by sdduuuude on April 3, 2012 - 11:58am.

"Fertility levels" sounds like a medical term to me. So, I don't like the term "fertility level" but the numbers are interesting. The correlation makes sense for a lot of reasons.

Reminds me of a stand-up routine I heard a while back. (Chris Porter from Last Comic Standing)

Basically the premise was that women are responsible for high gas prices because they tend to not sleep with men who drive fuel-efficient cars. You ladies start going for the guys driving the toyota tercel, honda civics and diesel rabbits instead of SUVs and sports cars and we can turn this economy around.

Submitted by bearishgurl on April 3, 2012 - 1:11pm.

pri_dk, thanks for posting this map. I bookmarked it.

I discussed this "dust bowl" migration here before as it applies to San Diego.

These "American refugees" left their barren, windblown hometowns, stripped of all natural resources, in droves for CA, lured by wartime defense jobs advertised in their own local newspapers!

http://piggington.com/why_i_am_leaving_s...

They packed up their families in station wagons and their trailers to the gills and headed west .... CA or BUST!

For instance, the Bay Park flats was an original settlement of defense workers .... almost ALL from Oklahoma! Now deceased, many of their small houses (with knotty-pine kitchen and built-ins, lol) have been passed down to their children and grandchildren.

Read stories of why these many thousands of Americans left the only home they ever knew to migrate west during that era:

http://www.amazon.com/Stormy-Weather-Nov...

http://www.amazon.com/The-Worst-Hard-Tim...

They obviously felt they had nothing more to lose....

Submitted by UCGal on April 3, 2012 - 3:18pm.

On the topic of fertility levels in the 30's.
My dad was born in 31, my aunt in 36. Because of the economy my grandparents lived apart for many of these years. My grandfather got the only job he could get - auditing the public works projects fro the government... so he was on the road - mostly out west. My grandmother moved to her parents town (PA) and saw him maybe 2 times a year.

I have my grandmother's diaries from this timeframe. Very enlightening.

My grandmother had a pregnancy scare after one of the visits. This was after my dad was born, before my aunt was born. Lets just say she considered all options (at least emotionally, as written in her diary). Fortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm. They could *not* afford a second child.

The depression definitely impacted fertility - if couples are apart due to work (or lack thereof) it's harder to make babies.

Submitted by Veritas on April 4, 2012 - 10:46am.

Now there is soy and other GMO's to reduce fertility:
http://www.malefertilitysupplements.com/...

Submitted by harvey on April 4, 2012 - 11:04am.

UCGal wrote:
On the topic of fertility levels in the 30's.

[...]

The depression definitely impacted fertility - if couples are apart due to work (or lack thereof) it's harder to make babies.

Interesting story. I was wondering exactly what "reduced fertility levels" meant. I guessed it may have had to do with malnutrition. I didn't think that it may simply be due to couples being separated as men migrated looking for work. Makes sense.

My grandfather did a stint as a grave-digger during the depression. He said it was common to find old forgotten graves when digging up new ones and many of his coworkers would take gold teeth from the remains when they found them. He said he wouldn't take them himself, not because of ethical reasons but because he was superstitious. He also said the hardest part of the job was constantly seeing so many grieving people visit the cemetery.

In today's "great recession" people worry about getting their cable TV cutoff or losing their 5 bedroom mcMansion and having to bear the "hardship" of living in a 2 bedroom apartment.

Submitted by Diego Mamani on April 4, 2012 - 11:29am.

Couples being apart and malnutrition are explanations that can only account for a small portion of the drop in fertility rates. The explanation is quite simple, during difficult times, people have a hard time finding jobs, so marriages are postponed, and even couples who do cohabitate go to great extents to avoid pregnancies.

OTOH, when the economy is healthy and/or there's great deal of optimism about the future, people marry sooner and have plenty of kids.

Submitted by sdduuuude on April 4, 2012 - 12:42pm.

pri_dk wrote:
UCGal wrote:
On the topic of fertility levels in the 30's.

[...]

The depression definitely impacted fertility - if couples are apart due to work (or lack thereof) it's harder to make babies.

Interesting story. I was wondering exactly what "reduced fertility levels" meant. I guessed it may have had to do with malnutrition.

Ya, it is really a procreation rate, not a fertility rate. Poorly worded. Still interesting.

Submitted by dumbrenter on April 4, 2012 - 3:04pm.

Maybe what I am going to say might sound rude and insensitive; I am trying to put words carefully, so bear with me.

What kind of a person/family would make a decision to have or not have children based on economy? We all know economy gets better or worse in cycles, if things are good today, they will get relatively worse tomorrow....if things are bad today, they will get relatively better tomorrow.
Making a decision to have a child simply based on current economy makes no sense. Is this a correlation observed by the demographers or do you guys think that it is a causation i.e. where women/couples are deciding not to have children based on S&P 500?

It is not like civilization is going to end....and animals are going to come in and eat your kids. There will still be schools, parks and fun things to do. Maybe you have to get a little colder in winter and warmer in summer to save money. Maybe you have to cut vacations to save on gas bill, but deciding not to have children?

On the other hand, say, once you have a child and the economy gets worse what would you do? Return the child back to where he/she came from? Or do all couples who make children are doing it under assumption that the economy only keeps getting better from that point of time?

I hope the demographers are using this correlation to derive causation and are wrong with the reasoning. If not, it reflects worse on thinking process of American couples/women of child bearing age.

pri_dk, thanks for posting this. Interesting chart. By the way, I could also interpret the chart as migration from farmlands to cities. The green bubbles are essentially where the large metro areas are today irrespective of coasts or inland.

Submitted by harvey on April 4, 2012 - 3:55pm.

dumbrenter wrote:
Maybe what I am going to say might sound rude and insensitive; I am trying to put words carefully, so bear with me.

That never stopped me from saying anything here. ;)

I am also not sure about the cause-and-effect here. I wonder to what extent changes in birthrates are due to conscious decisions, especially before the age of birth control.

Another point though, is that in the 1930s, many of the now urban areas of CA were still agricultural. The Santa Clara valley, San Fernando Valley, and many other big urban areas were mainly farmland back then.

There's a reason it's called Orange County (the one in CA, anyway.)

Submitted by scaredyclassic on April 4, 2012 - 3:46pm.

I feel more testisteroney when I make money.

Submitted by Diego Mamani on April 4, 2012 - 3:49pm.

dumbrenter wrote:
What kind of a person/family would make a decision to have or not have children based on economy?

It's Demography 101, really. And it's not the economy per se that dictates family size.

These examples are precisely what does not go through people's minds:

-"Gee, the GDP per capita (or the unemployment rate, or the federal government deficit, etc.) hasn't improved for more than four quarters, so let's not have more children (or let's not get married yet)."

Instead, the thinking goes more like this:

-"Gee, I got laid off (or half of my neighbors were laid off, or I haven't been able to find a job after 12 months, etc.), so I can't afford to have a child now, or afford to marry now, let's wait for my situation to improve."

Our friend above gave us an example based on her family. Many folks simply felt that they couldn't afford to have (more) kids:

UCGal wrote:
I have my grandmother's diaries from this timeframe. Very enlightening. (...) My grandmother had a pregnancy scare (...) Lets just say she considered all options (at least emotionally, as written in her diary). Fortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm. They could *not* afford a second child.

Submitted by Diego Mamani on April 4, 2012 - 4:16pm.

walterwhite wrote:
I feel more testisteroney when I make money.

LOL! Thomas Malthus, the 18th century scholar and demographer, would have agreed with you. After all, he wrote a whole book to say essentially the same thing!

Submitted by bearishgurl on April 4, 2012 - 4:35pm.

dumbrenter, "welfare" (incl "food stamps") as we know it was not in existence during the Great Depression and WWII. Neither were housing assistance programs as we know them today. "Social Security" did not even come into existence until 1935 and this was only the OASDI program (did not include SSD and SSI). Many families running ranches and farms back then looked upon kids as another hand to help with all the daily chores of existence (older than about 6 years old). Families couldn't CHOOSE (except by abstinence) on whether to have more children as there was no birth control in existence. Unmarried pregnant women brought "shame" to their families and were sent away to have their child and give it up. Most married women had their children at home and were lucky to find a "qualified" midwife to assist them. Maternal and infant death in childbirth was MUCH higher it is than today.

http://www.researchetcinc.com/articles/a...

There were COUNTLESS American orphans given up for adoption because their parents lost their land or one of them died and the remaining parent could not take care of all the kids and farm the land and/or leave to seek work, too. Some kids were lucky enough to land with relatives who had more stable (paid for) homes but MANY siblings were split up among whomever could afford to put them up or even adopt them, whether or not they lived in a different city or state. If they were sick and/or chronically unemployed, many desperate parents voluntarily left their children in "charity children's homes" for what they thought was for the good of the child, only to return after obtaining some money and/or a place for their children to live and find they had been "adopted" by a distant familie(s). Too poor to hire legal counsel, they were forced to get on with their lives.

....There is no doubt that the black market flourished in the 1930s and 1940s in Tennessee, New York and elsewhere. A U.S. Senate subcommittee in 1955 heard testimony about rings in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Wichita.

Those hearings were convened partly in response to the misdeeds of Georgia Tann, the director of a respected children's home in Memphis, Tenn. Authorities discovered in 1950 that, for more than a decade, hundreds of the homes' children had been part of adoption-for-profit schemes.

Some newborns were stolen from mothers who were told that their babies had died. Older children were taken from poor families after a corrupt judge terminated parental rights.

Tann died of cancer days before the investigation was completed, but the state later won a civil lawsuit against her estate...

http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.ancestry....

Today, people have CHOICES on whether to have kids or not. Many, it seems, have children whether or not they can "afford" them because they know there will be a government program to assist them if they are unable to support their children. This wasn't always the case.

The responsible thing to do in this day and age is to have only the children you can afford, IMHO.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on April 4, 2012 - 4:38pm.

I guess I had the first kid on credit but I was pretty sure I could afford the next two. But I wa feeling pretty bullish on my future when I had the first.

Also I meant testosteroney not testisteroney which doesn't even make sense

Submitted by bearishgurl on April 4, 2012 - 4:41pm.

walterwhite wrote:
I guess I had the first kid on credit but I was pretty sure I could afford the next two. But I wa feeling pretty bullish on my future when I had the first.

scaredy, you should STILL be bullish on your future. I don't see your "loyal" repeat-client base going anywhere except possibly to the Big House . . . and then return to avail themselves of your services at a later date :=}

No worries....

Submitted by scaredyclassic on April 4, 2012 - 5:01pm.

No. I'm a declining asset. I don't think I'm going to be worth much in 15 years.

I see myself persOnally as kind of like Polaroid stock. Kind of cool for a whole but ultimately irrelevant.

Submitted by dumbrenter on April 5, 2012 - 9:54am.

deleted

Submitted by dumbrenter on April 5, 2012 - 9:54am.

walterwhite wrote:
I feel more testisteroney when I make money.

It's not you, it is the forces of evolution, my friend!
You feel that way because making more money ends up making you more valuable to your mate. And you might get a lil' something in return that evening.
20,000 years ago you would have felt that way when you brought in an extra chunk of meat from hunting...the meat just got replaced by money.

Submitted by sdduuuude on April 5, 2012 - 10:36am.

walterwhite wrote:
No. I'm a declining asset. I don't think I'm going to be worth much in 15 years.

I see myself persOnally as kind of like Polaroid stock. Kind of cool for a whole but ultimately irrelevant.

I'm gonna tell your wife that one should rent, not own, declining assets.

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