This paper reviews the “Demographic Winter” framing strategy utilized by political actors in the United States. The demographic winter refers to a worldwide decline in birthrates. The actors that discuss this theory claim that the decline of fertility rates will eventually lead to economic devastation and want to warn individuals of this impending doom, causing a political as well as social change. This phrase is being used to warn individuals of this coming doom and push them into action. The primary actors using this framing strategy are Don Feder, Phillip Longman, David Hartman, all of whom are affiliated with the World Congress of Families—a coalition that promotes politically conservative Christian values internationally and holds an annual conference in major cities around the world. I limited my sample to WCF members from the United States that discuss population decline. In the paper, I offer examples of the ways in which “Demographic Winter” framing is used, drawing from WCF speeches and articles taken from these actors’ websites. I analyze and critique the “demographic winter” arguments from a sociological perspective, focusing on race, class and gender inequalities. First, I argue that the “demographic winter” framing puts on emphasis on fertility decline of white, western families and ignores the Third World as well as the contributions of immigrants. Next, I argue those using the “demographic winter” framing strategy focus their economic and policy solutions a middle class model that promotes individualism and self-support, ignoring the needs of low-income and poor families. Finally, I discuss their views on gender, which place an emphasis the dominance of males and the subservience of women promoting the idea of women as homemaker and child bearer while downplaying their roles outside of the home. By applying a sociological lens to the “demographic winter” framework, I contribute to the broader conversation on the consequences of population decline.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Sociological Analysis and Critique of the "Demographic Winter" Framing Strategy.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.