Does anyone know what the average births per mother among African plutocrats is?
Everyone knows that there are countries in Africa which are averaging 7+ brats per dam; Steve Sailer has the charts, if you haven’t seen them already. But when members of Africa’s (black) upper classes move to the U.S. to enjoy the benefits of affirmative action, they don’t seem to have more than the usual two or three children — at least, that is what I gather from personal observation. This could be the force of social pressure.
But on the other hand, social pressure doesn’t seem to have dented the family sizes of poor African immigrants. Perhaps this is a class difference, or perhaps the poorer immigrants can leech off SWPLs just fine without going to the trouble of interacting with them.
Malthusian logic dictates that the historically, the rich have typically had larger families than the poor. There are dozens of factors that induce exceptions to the rule, like inheritance systems and, above all, profitable-but-pestilent urban environments. However, having lots of children survive to adulthood was typically a sign that you could feed them (and their mother) well. So while there were many possible incentives to have a small family in the ancient world, signaling a high social status was not one of them.
The West was introduced to modern agriculture and modern medicine slowly. The widespread use of smallpox inoculation is separated from the first antibiotics by about eight generations. At the beginning of that period the availability of food limited family size nearly everywhere; at the end, nearly nowhere. Thus at the beginning of that period, all poor families in the West probably would have considered it high-status to raise a dozen children to adulthood, but they could not afford to do so. By the end of that period, most poor families could afford to raise a dozen children to adulthood (not comfortably, and certainly not without relying on hand-outs, but it could be done), yet they no longer considered it high-status to do so.
In fact, to the extent that poor families did have broods of five to eight children circa 1950, they were aping middle-class mores from a few generations earlier, which were in turn modeled on upper-class mores from still earlier. The middle class was no longer having five to eight children because they didn’t want to be confused with the poor, just as earlier still, aristocrats probably started to feel that too many children would make them look like bourgeois strivers. I don’t have the numbers to prove that aristocrats started to flaunt their infertility at exactly the same time the haute-bourgeoisie could finally afford to match them, heir for heir, but I am imagining that is about the time when infertility first became a fashionably upper-class vice.
The key difference was that the physical limits on family size were removed little by little, so the upper-middle class could afford to raise arbitrarily large families nearly two hundred years before the poor could. This meant that there was plenty of time for the upper classes to counter-signal, and for the new fashion of small families to begin to trickle down to the bottom of the hierarchy.
Africa has a number of other problems — genetic, cultural, and ideological. But I wonder how much of the demographic problem is the rapidity with which Western do-gooders took Africans out of a strictly Malthusian situation where disease and deprivation made family size a sure signal of some kind of special status.