Monday, August 3, 2020

Declining intelligence in the 20th century: the case of Estonia


Soviet-era stamp. In Estonia, cranial volume shrank between the cohort of girls born in 1937 and those born in 1962, apparently because the intellectually gifted were more likely to pursue higher education and postpone childbearing.

 


Is the genetic basis for intelligence declining from one generation to the next? That’s the conclusion of several recent studies on alleles associated with high educational attainment. By adding up such alleles over the genome, we can get a person's "polygenic score." By calculating the mean polygenic score for each generation, we can then find out whether this genetic basis is declining.


The polygenic score has declined among Icelanders since the cohort born in 1910 and among Euro Americans between the 1931 and 1953 cohorts (Beauchamp 2016; Kong et al. 2017). The Icelandic study is especially interesting because that country took in very few immigrants during the period under study. The decline was thus driven by internal factors. One reason seems to be the tendency of university-educated people to delay reproduction and have fewer children. But that's not the whole story. Even among Icelanders who didn’t pursue higher education, fertility was lower among the intellectually gifted, apparently because their intelligence was associated with a desire to plan for the future and delay gratification.


Before the twentieth century, such forward-looking people were reproductively successful. They were the ones who had enough resources to survive disasters of one sort or another: famine, disease, the Little Ice Age, etc. Today, such disasters are a lot less deadly, and it no longer matters so much whether one is a grasshopper or an ant.


Moreover, because of demographic and cultural changes during the twentieth century, it’s no longer possible to count on the same degree of assistance for child-raising from relatives and grandparents. With childbearing at later ages, grandparents are either dead or too frail to help. With people moving around more, not all relatives live nearby. If you’re the sort of person who plans for the future and delays gratification, you may be a lot more intimidated than your forbears by the costs of raising a family.



Shrinking cranial volume in Estonians


Cranial volume correlates with IQ and with educational attainment, albeit imperfectly (see Frost 2020). Has it been declining in tandem with the decline in alleles for educational attainment?


In Soviet-era Estonia, cranial volume was one of several anthropometric traits that were measured in girls born between 1937 and 1962. Because the measurements were mandatory, there was no volunteer basis; mortality bias was minimal because all the participants were younger than 20. In this respect, the study is better than Western biobank studies. On the other hand, the results may be less applicable to Western populations, given the differences in demographic history. Estonia had no postwar baby boom. Fertility then rose from the late 1960s until the breakup of the Soviet Union. By the late 1980s, fertility was actually higher in Estonia than in any other major region of Europe.


Nonetheless, there were demographic similarities between Soviet Estonia and the West, particularly the rising prevalence of single mothers and the influence of education on fertility:


- Divorce rates began to rise during the interwar years, equalling or exceeding those of Scandinavia from the 1970s onward.


- Throughout the twentieth century, Estonian women with only primary education bore 0.5 to 0.75 more children on average than women with tertiary education. In the population under study, taller children and those with larger crania were more likely to go on to secondary and/or tertiary education, independently of sex, socioeconomic position, and rural vs urban origin (Valge et al. 2019).


The second factor seems to explain why cranial volume declined from the older cohorts to the younger ones:


[...] the majority of selection for smaller cranial volume acted indirectly via educational attainment, whereas the direct path of selection in the SEM model was non-significant (Figs. 2 and 4). In other words, consistent with our prior expectations, girls with larger heads were selected against because they were more likely to obtain higher education than girls with smaller heads. Lower education (Tiit, 2013) and rural origin (Kulu, 2005) have been independently and additively associated with higher fertility in Estonia throughout the past century. The reason for the link between education and fertility is that early reproduction, a major determinant of LRS, is not compatible with schooling for both cultural and genetic reasons. (Valge 2020)


 It is doubtful that this decline is due to ethnic change. All of the girls were from Estonian schools (Russian-speakers had their own schools). Nonetheless some of them were of mixed background. According to a personal communication from the corresponding author, 84% of the fathers and 93% of the mothers were Estonian. Ideally, the study should be redone without individuals of mixed parentage. The problem here is not only that one of the parents was non-Estonian but also that such individuals were disproportionately economic migrants who had trouble finding suitable work elsewhere in the Soviet Union.



Other anthropomorphic changes


Height also declined. Unlike cranial volume, this decline was not wholly explained by educational/socioeconomic differences:


Notably, higher reproductive success of shorter girls in Estonia could not be entirely ascribed to indirect selection via educational attainment, nor via other measured socioeconomic variables such as rural/urban origin, although indirect selection via education did account for a large portion of total selection (Fig. 4). The finding that selection against height remains after controlling for education or income (that favours less-educated individuals who are generally shorter than highly-educated ones) is consistent with findings of studies reviewed by Stulp and Barrett (2016).
 

Female hips and female jaws became narrower even after controlling for educational/socioeconomic differences. There seems to have been selection for rounder female faces, but this selection is significant only if one allows for nonlinear effects. Finally, there was no direct selection on two markers of overall health and nutritional status: handgrip strength and lung capacity.


In general, "direct selection favoured shorter, slimmer and lighter girls with smaller heads, more masculine facial and body shapes and slower rates of sexual maturation."



Conclusion


The genetic basis for intelligence has declined in European populations, apparently since the early twentieth century. This decline is attested by two "hard" measures: 1) alleles associated with educational attainment; and 2) cranial volume. Furthermore, it is attested in two relatively homogenous societies, i.e., Iceland and Estonia.


In Estonia, the decline seems entirely due to the intellectually gifted going to university and postponing family formation. In Iceland, this factor explains only part of the decline: the intellectually gifted chose to postpone family formation even when they didn't go to university. Perhaps the Soviet system was better at steering gifted individuals into higher education.


On a final note, this problem will not go away on its own. If we wish to have large numbers of intellectually gifted people who plan for the future and delay gratification, we will need to reverse certain social and cultural changes of the twentieth century.



Comments by Peeter Horak


In an email, Peeter pointed out that the decrease in height due to natural selection might be offset by an increase in height due to lower pathogen load (as a result of vaccination and antibiotics, see Hõrak and Valge 2015). In addition, we currently don't know the direction of selection on boys. It may entirely cancel out natural selection on girls if men's income and education correlate positively with their reproductive success. In the sample under study, taller boys and those with larger heads went on to obtain more education; if they were reproductively successful, there would be sexually antagonistic selection: selection would favor larger boys and smaller girls at the same time.



References


Beauchamp, J.P. (2016). Genetic evidence for natural selection in humans in the contemporary United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(28): 7774-7779 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4948342/


Frost, P. (2020). Did women jumpstart recent cognitive evolution? Evo and Proud, July 1 https://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2020/07/did-women-jumpstart-recent-cognitive.html


Hõrak, P., and M. Valge. (2015). Why did children grow so well at hard times? The ultimate importance of pathogen control during puberty, Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2015 (1): 167–178, https://doi.org/10.1093/emph/eov017


Kong, A., M.L. Frigge, G. Thorleifsson, H. Stefansson, A.I. Young, F. Zink, G.A. Jonsdottir, A. Okbay, P. Sulem, G. Masson, D.F. Gudbjartsson, A. Helgason, G. Bjornsdottir, U. Thorsteinsdottir, and K. Stefansson. (2017). Selection against variants in the genome associated with educational attainment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(5): E727-E732 https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/154416179.pdf


Valge, M., P. Horak, and J.M. Henshaw. (2020). Natural selection on anthropometric traits of Estonian girls. Evolution and Human Behavior in press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2020.07.013


Valge, M, R. Meitern, and P. Horak. (2019). Morphometric traits predict educational attainment independently of socioeconomic background. BMC Public Health 19: 1696. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12889-019-8072-7


29 comments:

David said...

It would seem that, keeping environment ~constant, greater intelligence (call it IQ for convenience) is adaptive, since it leads to more individuals surviving to adulthood and raising their children to adulthood. Past that, however, further increases in IQ lead to fewer offspring, for the reasons you have discussed.

Three questions:

1) What IQ level (in Western society) leads to the greatest number of children who survive to adulthood?

2) Is this optimum IQ level different for the two sexes?

3) How does this optimum vary depending on environment - i.e. hunter-gatherer vs agricultural vs urbanized civilizations?

Thank you!

Truth Seeker said...

Satoshi Kanazawa writes that the modern "New Age" (Marxism, equality, LGBT, vegetarianism, etc.) comes from intelligence, i.e. intelligent people. Intelligent people tend to be liberal. If intelligence is falling, could we revert to the pre-New Age conservative era? Could that make cultural Marxism go away?

Anonymous said...

as interesting as all your blog postings, nonetheless I want to make some strong objections with regards to estonia: what you completely omit is the fact, that estonia was occupied 1939 (as a consequence of hitler-stalin-treaty) by the red army - and almost ALL of its intelligentsia, educated medium class, clergy, etc. was deported to siberia - or shot after nkvd had established its prisons.
little wonder, that 'girls with bigger brains' were missing after that onslaught on a very small population. add to that fact the following war years, occupation by nazi wehrmacht 1941 - where again 1000s of the remaining underground educated, intelligent middle-class, nationalist estonians joined german SS - and were killed during the war or fled afterwards (to canada, GB, USA) and you get a very simple explanation for that strange turn to smaller brains in estonia.
in the postwar years - till the break-up of USSR - I would suppose that many intelligent, educated and most beautiful (feminine faces, tall figure, long legs) girls went to russia, eg. leningrad and moscow as wives of russian officials/army/party-elite - giving birth to their children there and never coming back to estonia, rather hiding their estonian origin/background.
just one sentence to your opinion: 'it was russians who could not find work on other places in USSR, who went to estonia' - quite the contrary! it was a privilege (for retired officers, eg.) to get permission to live in estonia. all baltic republics were regarded as a privileged place to live for russians. and it was a privilege to be admitted there. dropouts went to siberia or to middle-asian republics. :))

Anonymous said...

just to add some thoughts more: in the case of iceland it seems the strong emigration both to denmark first and then to USA/canada and england in the last century contributed to the same effect as in estonia: the most intelligent and better educated emigrated.
another factor in diminishing cranial size all over the world could be found in the rise of canned/frozen junk food (till the end of WW I (!) - esp. in regions were malnutrition was rampant like postwar baltics or also iceland...
such a study would be very interesting: a case of nurture shaping nature: i.e. insufficient nutrition triggering genetics for smaller bodies and brains in embryos (as mammals normally tend to be smaller in islands, i.e. restricted, in-breeding areas.

Sean said...

If you’re the sort of intelligent person who as a result of genetic selection plans for the future, why does that planning have a specific blind spot, whereby higher general intelligence cannot formulate and execute a realistic course of action for marrying and starting a family in timely fashion? Could there have been a genetic propensity for not having children being selected for in for that was concealed because the heavy lifting was done by a progressively more family formation pushing culture until relatively recently? If so, once traditional natist culture and religion faded the birth rate would have started collapsing as a result of the widespread genetic tendency to not seriously try to have children becoming a much stronger influence on people than it had ever been.

Spengler: "The primary woman, the peasant woman, is mother. The whole vocation towards which she has yearned from childhood is included in that one word. But now emerges the Ibsen woman, the comrade, the heroine of a whole megalopolitan literature from Northern drama to Parisian novel. Instead of children, she has soul-conflicts; marriage is a craft-art for the achievement of “mutual understanding.” It is all the same whether the case against children is the American lady’s who would not miss a season for anything, or the Parisienne’s who fears that her lover would leave her, or an Ibsen heroine’s who “lives for herself”—they all belong to themselves and they are all unfruitful"

Anonymous said...

Could there have been a genetic propensity for not having children being selected for in for that was concealed because the heavy lifting was done by a progressively more family formation pushing culture until relatively recently?

What's been concealed is the tacit social contract that forms the basis of civilization: men giving up their right to violence and submitting to the sovereign who holds a monopoly on violence. In exchange, men are granted socially constructed patriarchy that elevates them above women in social status, and thus makes them acceptable mates in the eyes of women.

Before cilization, high IQ populations evolved in environments that demanded female reliance on male provisioning. As these populations transitioned to civilization and an environment with greater caloric surplus, they introduced socially constructed patriarchy to maintain the female dependence on men that they were accustomed to.

However, civilization is now far removed from this original social contract, which is largely forgotten. And it has produced so much wealth and caloric surplus that male provisioning is unnecessary for women and their children to survive.

Until a few generations ago, there were explicit and implicit social restrictions on women's ability to attain status and have independent livelihoods. Women had to have husbands; their only other options were to become nuns or spinsters, which was considered shameful.

Nowadays with female independence and feminism as social norms, women are expected and encouraged to pursue higher education and high status careers. As a result, the average man's social status, and thus his attractiveness and acceptability as a mate to women, has collapsed. It's as if a huge swathe of men has been castrated. Women now spend their fertile years pursuing higher education, careers, and a narrower pool of men of relatively higher social status with at the least the same credentials and earning power. As a result, fertility has collapsed.

In summary, women have a drive to "marry up". In the past, this drive was mitigated by artificially leveling men in general up above women. We no longer do so, and if anything, elevate women in general above men, narrowing the options for women to "marry up".

Sean said...

Anon of Aug 5,Until a few generations ago, there were explicit and implicit social restrictions on women's ability to attain status and have independent livelihoods. Women had to have husbands; their only other options were to become nuns or spinsters, which was considered shameful.[...] In the past, this drive was mitigated by artificially leveling men in general up above women. We no longer do so, and if anything, elevate women in general above men, narrowing the options for women to "marry up"

There is something in that, but the capstone of an independently successful woman's status is still very much tied up with not only getting a man of status every bit as high as her own, but producing exceptional children with him. That is why there are dating agencies catering to successful women looking for a successful man to have children with. Yet these women that are so able to think through and carry out a plan of action in every other aspect of their lives because of their higher general intelligence, cannot manage to do so in relation to the icing on the cake of 'having it all. Pro-natalist culture has disappeared from the mainstream, but the assumption that genes are necessarily collaborating to try and make the person they are in reproduce as much as possible seems wrong by my way of thinking.

Genes are all about fitness in competition with other genes. I will speculate that to pay off in fitness terms, high IQ children need far more nurturing and that means less children is more fitness for the genes in higher IQ parents. Parents doting on a only child or widely spaced ones would enable his (it would usually be the son's) high IQ enable him to go into life equipped to hit the genetic jackpot by having the resources to exceed the fitness of parents who had to many high IQ children. Education was once an even bigger expense than it is now. I am suggesting that historically genes against reproduction were increasing in tandem with genes for high IQ, but also along with an increasingly pro natalist culture that was doing the heavy lifting of ensuring the high in IQ had some children?

Peter Frost said...

David,

1) What IQ level (in Western society) leads to the greatest number of children who survive to adulthood?

This has changed over time. There has been considerable leveling of fertility rates between social classes. Today, in advanced Western nations, single mothers tend to have higher fertility, but it's not as big a difference as in the past (abortion has been a big equalizer). The highest fertility is among certain religious groups (Mormons, Amish, Hassidic Jews, etc.)

2) Is this optimum IQ level different for the two sexes?
Good question. There seems to be no sex difference, at least not a large one:

"In Sweden, there is a positive relationship between IQ and fertility only for the male cohort born between 1915 and 1924. The remaining relationships, for both females and males, are neither negative nor positive."

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0191886988900153

3) How does this optimum vary depending on environment - i.e. hunter-gatherer vs agricultural vs urbanized civilizations?

Short answer: "It depends." Arctic hunter-gatherers are not comparable to tropical hunter-gatherers. Agricultural societies encompass a wide range. There's a big difference between a serf and a yeoman. Again, I can't generalize. As for urbanized civilizations, the tendency is toward reduced fertility. In the past, towns and cities were demographic "sinks." But the exceptions in recent times are numerous. Urbanized Bosnians have higher fertility than rural Serbs. Religion and ideology are big factors.

Truthseeker
"Could that make cultural Marxism go away?"

Nope. Cultural Marxists reproduce by memes, not genes. As long as they dominate the educational system, they'll have plenty of young minds to make new copies of themselves.

Conservatives refused to fight the culture war, and now they're paying the price.

Anon,
"what you completely omit is the fact, that estonia was occupied 1939 (as a consequence of hitler-stalin-treaty) by the red army - and almost ALL of its intelligentsia, educated medium class, clergy, etc. was deported to siberia - or shot after nkvd had established its prisons"

I could refer you to the author (who is Estonian), but he would give the same reply I'll give you. Nothing of what you say would affect the methodology. The author was looking at the effect of differences in fertility on various physical traits.

"just to add some thoughts more: in the case of iceland it seems the strong emigration both to denmark first and then to USA/canada and england in the last century contributed to the same effect as in estonia: the most intelligent and better educated emigrated."

In Iceland, the polygenic decline was for cohorts born between 1910 and 1990. This was after the main period of emigration. In any case, I don't see how emigration could explain the magnitude of the decline. It's too large and too steady. Have you tried to do the math?

Peter Frost said...

Sean,

"Could there have been a genetic propensity for not having children being selected for in for that was concealed because the heavy lifting was done by a progressively more family formation pushing culture until relatively recently? If so, once traditional natist culture and religion faded the birth rate would have started collapsing as a result of the widespread genetic tendency to not seriously try to have children becoming a much stronger influence on people than it had ever been."

I agree. People were selected for future orientation within a natalist culture. If you get rid of that culture, the dysfunctional consequences of future orientation become apparent.

Anon,

We can't turn back the clock. Even if we could, we would end up in the very same position we are in now. The New Deal era laid the basis for high fertility in Western societies, and I think that model, with some modifications, could be made to work again, i.e., high wages for working people, low levels of economic equality, optimal conditions for family formation, and oversight of culture creation to support family values (Hays Code, etc.).

Anonymous said...

Trying to resurrect the New Deal model would also be an attempt to turn back the clock, only it would be largely ineffectual at substantially raising fertility rates this time around because the patriarchal or "sexist" norms that still largely prevailed under the original New Deal would be missing this time. Moreover, the New Deal model of a welfare state did gradually contribute to the replacement of male breadwinners by the government and thus greater female independence and declines in fertility.

"High wages" only have meaning relative to something. In the context of marriage and reproduction, a "high wage" for a man is one that's higher than his potential spouse's, elevates him in social status, and that can outbid his potential spouse's other options for sustenance provided by the government and or private employment. Thus in a society like ours today devoted to gender equality in social status and economic power, it's impossible to pay the majority of men "high wages" relative to marriage and reproduction. We can pay them "high wages" relative to, say, the cost of food or flat screen TVs, but not marriage and reproduction. "High wages" relative to marriage and reproduction can only be reserved for the minority of men who earn substantially more than women.

During the original New Deal, most women were formally or informally barred from higher education and most jobs besides low wage, menial or domestic type work like being maids, nurses, etc. They generally needed a male provider. Thus the cost of paying men "higher wages" relative to marriage and reproduction was much lower. Maids will marry male factory workers and plumbers who earn more than they do. Female doctors, lawyers, professionals, corporate workers, etc. resist men less credentialed and lower earning than themselves. They seek the minority of men who are at the least, and preferably more, credentialed, educated, higher earning, wealthier, higher status, etc.

I agree that we can't turn back the clock. It seems to me what's likely to happen is that men increasingly drop out/slack off as it becomes more difficult for them to bid for the fertile years of women, and that the level of civilization and social stability will decline.

Anonymous said...

Yet these women that are so able to think through and carry out a plan of action in every other aspect of their lives because of their higher general intelligence, cannot manage to do so in relation to the icing on the cake of 'having it all. Pro-natalist culture has disappeared from the mainstream, but the assumption that genes are necessarily collaborating to try and make the person they are in reproduce as much as possible seems wrong by my way of thinking.

The message these women's genes are getting in the contemporary environment is that they are surrounded by men who are "losers" unworthy of reproduction. They are competing with other women for a small minority of highly successful, wealthy men who are in a buyer's market and have many options.

Peter Frost said...

Anon,

I'm interested in your political proposal only if it meets three criteria:
- It flows from a sober analysis of the problem
- It can achieve its stated aims if implemented.
- It can rally the support of most people who go to the trouble of voting.

You attribute the fertility decline to the decline of patriarchy and to increasing economic equality between men and women. This is a common "masculinist" argument, so please let me address it at some length.

We see much more patriarchy and sexual inequality in East Asia than in North America, yet fertility rates are actually lower there. The same may be said about the Parsis. You might reply that there are special cultural and historical reasons in the case of East Asia. Fine. So you're admitting that the decline of patriarchy is not the only cause.

Let's now look at the fertility decline in North America. It began in the late 19th century and by the 1920s had reached below-replacement levels among White Protestants. Feminism did exist at that time, but it didn't have the support of most women. The fertility decline took place among married couples where the man was the breadwinner both in law and in practice. Abortion was illegal. Contraceptives were either illegal or difficult to obtain. Divorce was granted only in certain narrowly defined circumstances. Married women were limited to a few professions, like school teaching. It was a masculinist paradise, and yet fertility rates were no longer sufficient to replace the population.

The fertility decline was driven by unrealistic social norms. Most White Protestants aspired to a middle-class lifestyle, but the trappings of that lifestyle were too costly to permit a large family. The rise of factory capitalism also made children a net cost. Whereas before a farmer or craftsman would have a large family to assist with his work, an industrialist would simply hire more laborers.

The New Deal was an effort to maintain a "breadwinner" wage while also supporting realistic social norms. By "New Deal" I don't simply mean the measures taken by the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. I also mean the measures taken by all Western governments during the 1930s and 1940s to rebuild family life. To some extent, such measures were also taken in Fascist Europe and in the communist Soviet Union.

An updated New Deal could be a political winner. I can't say the same for your proposals. Moreover, you don't seem to have much faith in them yourself, at least not in their political feasibility.

Anonymous said...

Peter, I would not challenge the validity of the estonian/icelandic study in itself. but to omit historical circumstances which led to that outcome, makes the entire study plus conclusions useless. it is like you take a sample of 100 mice trained in their labyrinth, then take away the 10-20 most intelligent, repeat the proces and then state: we find out that generation after generation the populatio grew more stupid :) - and discovering as central cause the lower fertility rate of lager brain-females!
the liquidation of nationalist intelligentsia in estonia (and lithuania/latvia) was a declared aim of communist policy after sovuiert invasion, the drift of baltic women to marry up into the layers of powerful RUSSIAN bureaucracy (in moscow/leningrad) in post-war is obvious...
you central flaw - despite your very fine studies and contributions - is the absence of historical background/cause/circumstances for trends and developments in society, I fear. you always argue like a researcher provided with a stable, vast sample in a relatively stable society devolping only according to internal factors (like USA or britain in last century).
yes, I do my math - but I fear you forgot your history class :))

Anonymous said...

Peter,

I don't really like the term "patriarchy" because it has many connotations. Especially these days, to many people it implies extreme and even violent oppression of women. While it certainly can and does take that form in different times and places, let me clarify that that is not the sense in which I'm using the term. I'm using it to mean a general social arrangement that establishes gender inequality in important economic, social, political respects. For example, the America of the 1950s would be "patriarchal" in many important respects because there were various formal and informal restrictions on women's social status and economic independence relative to men.

Let me also clarify that the "effect" I'm trying to explain is the decline in fertility among previously broadly monogamous, male breadwinner based societies.

I don't know if we see "much more patriarchy and sexual inequality in East Asia than in North America" in aspects like labor force participation. In the US it's 57% for women, in South Korea it's 53%.

I generally agree with your characterization of the decline in fertility among White Protestants. Until industrialization really got underway in New England in the middle of the 19th century, New England WASPs were farmers and craftsmen with huge families. The environment and economy could not really support non domestic female economic participation and independence. When factories started in the mid-19th century, they recruited New England farm girls to work, although they were heavily controlled and supervised and did not have meaningful freedom and economic independence. Factories also began recruiting Irish immigrant labor, which lowered the labor value of WASP male breadwinners, and spurred WASP migration westwards to New York and the Midwest.

I agree that the fertility decline was driven by unrealistic social norms. My point is that those norms are set by women and conditioned by their economic and social status and independence. WASPs were the most economically advanced group in the US, and made the "transition" before others. Greater wealth sets a higher baseline expectation from women for a lifestyle that they expect from their spouses. Greater wealth and an easier lifestyle also allows for more female demands for equality and independence to be heard with less pushback from men and society in general. So greater wealth generates greater expectations, and these expectations are amplified by more equality and independence for women.

My point about the prewar Western welfare states is that they were established in an environment in which patriarchal, sexist norms largely still prevailed. These welfare states and policies still persist today; what's different now is that we went through the social and sexual revolutions of the 60s and 70s. Social norms like male breadwinners, lifeline monogamous nuclear families, are anathema and actively undermined and suppressed. The old welfare state was patriarchal and sexist because it helped male breadwinners directly and women only indirectly through their husbands and families. The new welfare state has to help women equally and replaces the male breadwinner for women, along with private employment.

Sean said...

"People were selected for future orientation within a natalist culture. If you get rid of that culture, the dysfunctional consequences of future orientation become apparent."They want and plan for children but just don't have them for some strange reason. They are capable of getting advanced diplomas, why not 2.4 children? Rather than a straightforward side effect of future orientation, it seems maybe there is a specific evolved override coming into operation. I have trouble believing it is beyond evolution to come up with future time orientation genes that don't requires massive cultural assistance to not disappear up their own you know what.

Anonymous said...

They want and plan for children but just don't have them for some strange reason.

The "natalist culture" is a socially constructed patriarchy in which the majority of men are made "alpha males" worthy of reproduction in the eyes of women.

If you get rid of this culture and replace it with one in which women are actively elevated and men are denigrated, women suddenly find themselves in an environment surrounded by "beta males", "losers", etc. that they don't want to reproduce with. The only "good men" left in this novel environment are the minority of high status men.

It's as if you physically shrunk the majority of men to be shorter than the average woman, leaving a minority of men taller than women. It's well known women prefer taller men. The women would avoid the majority of these newly shrunken midget losers and chase the minority of men who remain tall.

Peter Frost said...

Anon,

- The Icelandic study
Again, have you done the math? To produce that kind of steady genetic decline, you have to have very substantial and steady emigration. That wasn't what happened. Overall, the period of 1919-1990 had low emigration. Possibilities for emigration were very limited between 1914 and 1918 and again between 1929 and 1945.

Normally, when I have doubts about a study, I contact the corresponding author. Have you done that? Or is this something you want others to do?

"My point is that those norms are set by women and conditioned by their economic and social status and independence."

In White Protestant America between 1850 and 1920, fertility went from very high levels to below-replacement. The main problem was that most White Protestants aspired to a middle-class existence, and the norms for that kind of existence were unrealistic. To meet those norms, family size had to be reduced. Were women to blame? Do you believe that? Are you sure men also don't want stuff? I suppose you could answer that men want stuff only to please women. Again, do you believe that?

White Protestant America in 1920 corresponded very much to the kind of society you want, yet, demographically, it was already a very sick society. Many observers commented on this demographic crisis at the time.

I get the impression you're very much "into" the masculinist subculture. It provides answers to questions that aren't even discussed in mainstream culture. So those answers must be right, hmm?

Not all politically incorrect answers are correct. It's not because of feminism that most Western countries have a surplus of single men. It's because single men now greatly outnumber single women in the 20 to 40 age bracket. The ratio is even more skewed if we look only at childless singles. This gender imbalance has developed since the 1980s, largely because male mortality has decreased and because more older men are getting divorced and marrying younger women. Immigration may also be a factor.

Again, feminism has nothing to do with it. You could give every single man a solid gold bar, and you would have the same number of surplus single men in five years time. They may be different men, but the problem would be more or less the same.

If you don't believe me, check out this interactive map:
http://jonathansoma.com/singles/

Truth Seeker said...

^ Just to add to the above, that Jonathan Soma map is 8 years old (2012), and the US sex ratio has worsened even further since then (I've been tracking sex ratios for a long time). Right now the sex ratio is simply catastrophic for American men. But this issue is never discussed in the manosphere. I participated in various alt-right/incel forums, such as Roosh V, AmRen, and so on, and not a single person ever brings up the sex ratio there. When I tried to bring it up I was hushed and disbelieved; my impression is no one in those circles knows about this issue.

Anonymous said...

I'm not into the "masculinist" and "men's rights" subculture.

I've read your articles on the sex ratio stuff, and I don't think they're inconsistent with my views.

Feminism means you can't give every man a gold bar. You have to give them equally or more to women also.

Peter Frost said...

Truth Seeker,
Can you point me to any data on the U.S. sex ratio since 2012? For a while, a lot was written in the academic literature, but I haven't seen anything in recent years.

Anon,

Sorry. I've encountered masculinists from time to time, and I guess I was projecting their arguments onto you.

Truth Seeker said...

Peter,
The last available race-based breakdown of US singles is from the 2014 census (6 yrs ago):

https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2014/demo/families/cps-2014.html
--> Choose White Non-Hispanic from the list

In this spreadsheet, 3 columns need to be summed up for Male vs. Female for each age bracket, this gives the total number of singles:
"NeverMarried" + "Divorced" + "Widowed"
(Similar to Jonathan Soma, we don't include "Separated.")

If you do these per-bracket totals and divide M/F, the White Single Ratio of 2014 only dipped below 1 at 45-49.

From 2015 onward they stopped breaking down singles by race. However, it's still possible to approximate the White Singles Ratio if you know "the average offset" of how whites differ from the general US population (usually higher ratios). I computed the average 2000-2014 offset of White Singles for each age bracket from the corresponding 2000-2014 All-Race Singles ratios. When I applied this correction to the All-Race 2019 data, my approximation shows that the 2019 White Singles ratio only dips below 1 at 50-54 now (although it's close to parity at 45-49).

All-Race 2019 Singles breakdown:
https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2019/demo/families/cps-2019.html
-->Marital Status of People 15 Years and Over, by Age, Sex, and Personal Earnings: 2019

I have the Excel file that shows all these calculations, if you want I can send it to you.

Jonathan Soma's maps weren't all that useful because they didn't account for race.

Peter Frost said...

Truth Seeker,

Yes, we see the same situation in the United Kingdom. The sex ratio imbalance now lasts into the early 50s.

It would be interesting to get the sex ratio among childless singles (although the never-married group might be a close approximation).

Why did the race-based breakdown end in 2014? Or is this a case of the data being available but no longer published?

Truth Seeker said...

The Census Bureau's reply was "Unfortunately, this is the new layout of the data tables to save space. You may contact the Family and Fertility Branch directly to see if they can send you the individual files."

Peter Frost said...

Truth Seeker,

"To save space" ... hmm.

Are their comparable tables for earlier censuses? Ideally, I'd like to find the same data from the 1970s.

Truth Seeker said...

Yes, there are comparable tables for the 1970s etc.

Everything can be found by typing "living arrangements 2012" (substitute year) in the Search box on www.census.gov (and Google will also redirect to these results if you use this search string).

Example: for 2012: the link we want is one of the results listed here:
https://www.census.gov/search-results.html?q=living+arrangements+2012&page=1&stateGeo=none&searchtype=web&cssp=SERP&_charset_=UTF-8
--> We want to open "America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012" and download the Excel file
Change the year in the Search box as desired.

Example for 1977:
https://www.census.gov/search-results.html?q=living+arrangements+1977&page=1&stateGeo=none&searchtype=web&cssp=SERP&_charset_=UTF-8
--> We want to open "Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1977" and download the full PDF.
In that PDF, the table we want is on p. 13: "Table 1. MARITAL STATUS, BY AGE, RACE AND SPANISH ORIGIN"

For 2001-present they use Excel files, for <2000 they use PDFs.

The All-Race Living Arrangements <=2019 can also be studied across the years for how even the general ratio has worsened for men. Firm White data is <=2014. In 2001 (not ancient history), the White Singles ratio for 50-54 was an extremely low 0.6, whereas by 2014 it had approached parity.

Peter Frost said...

Interesting. Could you please send me your post-2014 estimates? You can use my hotmail address: pfrost61 at hotmail dot com

Truth Seeker said...

Yes, let me clean up the Excel file and I'll send it shortly.

tomR said...

1. There's a sexual preference in many man for smaller women, including small women with smaller brains. If there's no need for larger brains for survival, then this itself will cause next generation to be descendants of smaller-brained women. This may also cause an increase in sexual dimorphism in the long term.

Visual example of a Baltic man with a large brain, who has a smaller-brained woman (the policewoman has a small brain too):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-cuT7q1dZ4

By the way - porn companies should have a lot of statistics on views for various models, did anyone try to correlate popularity of models with their brain sizes (these should be possible to estimate from the pictures)? This would tell a lot about the male preferences.

2. Autistic lesbian effect. Higher education could larger share of autistic lesbians, who have male-like brains. Eg. women who look like dr Terry Wahls. Back then the fertility of such people could be lower.

3. Hunter-gatherer ancestry of Baltic people. They have some of the highest percent of hunter-gatherer ancestry in Europe. In women it could mean some visual effects like a large lower face, including chins, that would make such women less sexually attractive.

On the other hand such things make men more attractive. So gynocentric statistics that look only at female fertility patterns are invalid, as are conclusions from them. People inherit genes from both parents.

Unknown said...

Anatoly Karlin considers that the reproductive rate mostly depends on how much children are desired, as in their amount, and that it's genetic. It seems that it's in reverse correlation to IQ except in some rare cases.

I guess that this problem is solved the easiest of course via artificial selection for highly intelligent "breeders"