Letter Re: Demographic Shifts in The American Redoubt

Hello Mr. Rawles:
I noticed in your answer about demographic changes in the “American Redoubt,” you only dealt with political notions. The question, as I read it, asked about immigration and the American Redoubt and the demographic changes as a result of that. Can you talk about some other issues? Thanks for your blog. – A Virginia RN

JWR Replies: I’ll be happy to address the demographics in more broad terms. My apologies for only addressing political aspects in my initial reply.

Religion: The religious demographics of the American Redoubt generally parallel the rest of the nation (with an overall decline in regular church attendance, a shift toward neo-evangelicalism and toward charismatic churches, and a decline in Catholicism.) One noteworthy exception is southern Idaho, which has a higher percentage of LDS Church members. There are generally more Catholics than Baptists in the Redoubt. Small congregations and home churches (or “house churches“) seem to be on the upswing throughout the Redoubt. Although the Jewish population is relatively small, the Messianic congregations seem to be rapidly growing in popularity in the Inland Northwest. Another difference is the absence of Islam. The advent of Moslem mosques appears to be a mostly coastal phenomenon, leaving the Redoubt virtually untouched.

Population Density: As mentioned many times in SurvivalBlog, the entire American Redoubt has one of the lowest population densities of the 48 Conterminous States (CONUS.) Newly-arrived easterners are amazed at the very light vehicular traffic and the almost open “frontier” feel of the Redoubt states. But the population is generally rising faster than much of the country, especially the decaying big cities, which are depopulating.

Age: Just like the rest of the country, the population is aging in the Redoubt, but the median age is lower then the national average. The exceptional areas are those with a higher percentage of Amish, Hutterite, Mennonite, Catholic and LDS Church members, since they all tend toward large families.

Procreation: The percentage of homosexuals is quite low, and not encouraged. The teen birth rate is low. The number of unmarried couples living in sin is about average for the United States. (The Bible Belt has a much more admirable rate.)

Crime Rates: The violent crime rate is very low except for in a few counties in Eastern Washington. The murder rate is quite low. The number of terrorist acts and groups is very low. Open carry of guns is generally legal and commonplace.

Immigration and Ethnicity: Foreign immigration has impacted the Redoubt far less than the rest of the country. The American Indian population is relatively high, of course especially in the Reservations. The White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) population and culture still predominates. The only significant inroads of Mexican in- migration (some legal, some illegal) are in southern Idaho and southeastern Washington (primarily the Tri-Cities.) But the general impression that newcomers get when they arrive here is: “Gosh! Where are all of the immigrants and minorities?” Their profound absence seems almost shocking to folks who are accustomed to the more ethnically diverse and heavily populous coastal states. (One of my new neighbors who was originally from the Midwest attended a local high school basketball game for the first time, and was amazed how overwhelmingly “WASPy” both the team and the attending fans were. He said that “it felt like going to a Lutheran picnic.” FWIW, I personally consider race a non-issue and in fact a specious issue. (There is only one race: the human race and God’s Elect come in all skin colors.) In my experience, people who move to the Redoubt are judged by their politics, their religious persuasion, and whether or not they are hunters far more than they are for their skin pigmentation.

Wealth and Taxation: Variation of wealth is quite pronounced in the Redoubt. Wages are generally lower than most of the nation, yet the per capita number of millionaires is high, particularly in southern Idaho and Wyoming. (Just a few people have made lot of money, mostly in farming, ranching, mining, and petroleum drilling.) Generally people live closer to the land in the Redoubt that they do on the coasts. The norm is to hunt deer, have a large garden and to cut your own firewood. Barter is commonplace. Sales taxes are low or non-existent. Likewise, state income taxes are moderate to non-existent.

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