February 27, 2013

Elites and population growth

Following up my Taki's column on how slowly elite communities and institutions are allowed to grow in numbers of residents or participants, I want to mention how hard it is even to Google this topic for colleges. I tried a variety of phrases plausibly referring to expansion of undergraduate numbers, but couldn't find any combination that referred to more than a trickle of examples. It's just not a topic that's broadly discussed, so we lack a general term for it.

I came upon the following article about Pomona College in Claremont, CA, east of Los Angeles. USNWR ranks it #4 among liberal arts colleges in the U.S. It is said to be the richest liberal arts college in the country in terms of endowment per student. Here's a 2012 article from the student newspaper on the faculty debate over whether or not to dare increase the student body by a total of 3% over the next ten years.
Pomona Faculty Debates Increasing Size of Student Body 
Pomona College faculty weighed in on whether or not to increase the size of the student body at a forum in Frank Dining Hall's Blue Room Tuesday. ... 
“It is a natural time to ask the question, because the College has to be looking about ten years down the road [for land use regulatory reasons] and considering all of the possible directions it might go,” he wrote.     
The college is considering an increase of approximately 50 total students, or 12-15 in each year, Lindholm wrote. Pomona currently has an enrollment of approximately 1,560 students.  ...  
According to data provided by Fass, Pomona has a larger endowment per student than other liberal arts colleges. Pomona’s $954,201 endowment per student is almost 16 percent higher than second place Swarthmore College's $824,590 per student.       
Some professors, however, are not so confident the college can handle the additional students, especially given current over-enrollment in popular departments.     
“I don’t find the argument that we have a moral imperative to share the Pomona experience with 50 more students convincing,” Mathematics Professor Erica Flapan wrote in an e-mail to TSL. Flapan opposes increasing the student body.     
“Increasing the student body by 50 students could have a negative impact on departments that are already heavily enrolled,” Flapan wrote. “It’s hard to predict the exact impact that 50 more students would have, so why risk it?”     

Having looked at a lot of data over the last week, my overall impression is that the "revealed preference" of American elites is for their own personal communities to grow, but at a barely perceptible rate, not more than 0.5% per year and often well under that. There are exceptions -- e.g., periods of early growth in numbers -- but there is little evidence that elites tolerate rapid growth in numbers for long in their own daily lives.

Shrinkage is rarer, but not unknown. For example, Mayor Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Henry Kravis, Sean Connery, and Tom Brokaw belong to Deepdale Golf Club in New York's suburbs. But the surviving members have generally preferred to not replace old members as they died off, so by the 1990s, Deepdale was down to about ten rounds of golf per day.

That didn't stop Mayor Bloomberg for citing golf courses as needing illegal immigrants. From 2006:
Bloomberg: Illegal immigrants help golfers 
NEW YORK, April 1 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says golf fairways would suffer if illegal immigrants were returned to their native country. 
"You and I are beneficiaries of these jobs," Bloomberg told his WABC-AM radio co-host, John Gambling. "You and I both play golf; who takes care of the greens and the fairways in your golf course?" 
However, Robert Heaney, general manager of Deepdale Golf Club -- a Long Island course where Bloomberg often plays -- told The New York Daily News that no illegal immigrants work at the club.

Here's something interesting:
In 2001, when he first ran for mayor, Mr. Bloomberg quit the Century Country Club in Purchase, which is predominately white. He maintains memberships at the Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, the Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, the Saint Andrews Golf Club in Hastings-on-Hudson and the Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda.

The Century Country Club is Jewish. I was under the impression that Century is the club Bill Clinton joined after his Presidency when he found out that Winged Foot and Westchester would force him to wait the usual decade or so on their waiting lists. But, I don't see evidence for that now, just a notation that Clinton now belongs to Trump National (owned by you know who).


Anonymous said...

The elite colleges of the USA enroll about one student for every 2000 Americans entering as freshmen. Since half the class is legacies, foreigners, and affirmative action admits, that leaves about one spot in 4000 for elite Americans to enter a Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Yale, Princeton, or Caltech.

In the UK, the two elite schools take 1% of candidates, 40 times the number in the USA. In Japan, Kyoto and Tokyo universities take 1% of the national 18 year olds. Korea is similar. In Canada and Germany and almost all of Europe, the top elite schools take well over 1% of the population.

France has a few ultra-elite schools that are almost as exclusive as the USA elites but their admission is at least one-hundred-percent merit based with objective tests and not subjective measures of elite-compatibility like in the USA.

I suspect we're looking at one of the forces that destroys nations that allow their aristocracies to turn them into world empires.

Anonymous said...

Pomona is a liberal arts college. Liberal arts colleges tend to be small and focused on traditional liberal arts scholarship and teaching undergrads. They don't have grad and professional schools attached nor do they have research. And they have fewer faculty and administrators.

Prestigious major universities that are favored by elites have been expansionist.

Steve Sailer said...

Such as ...?

Anonymous said...

High growth rates in elite institutions mean that in short order they will cease to be elite. What's the fun in a Harvard degree if they graduate 50,000 people per year, even if your own education quality isn't affected by higher enrollment?

It's essentially guild behavior.

Anonymous said...

I don't see many innovations, coming from the Ivies, to lighten the physical burden of the jobs that Mexicans do. I wonder why? I knew it, I knew it, the elites don't care about Mexicans.

Where are our modular home factories? Where is our automated landscaping equipment? Where are our perishable fruit harvesters?

The elite have failed at maintaining our supersonic transportation and space programs. They really don't stand out compared to the elite of fifty years ago. Being an Elite seems to be an end in itself.

anony-mouse said...

Er, Columbia U has been expanding quite a bit and quite controversially:


This case was big among the libertarians for a while (eminent domain and more).

Cornell of Ithaca has been moving into the Big Apple in a big way:


Steve Sailer said...

Columbia has been trying to physically push back the neighboring 'hood forever. Columbia's attempts to buy up surrounding slums was a big issue in the late 1960s SDS era. A number of Ivy League colleges have the same issue -- Yale has pushed back the slums for several blocks. What's striking is how little Ivy League colleges use undergraduate expansion as an engine for this.

Anonymous said...

“I don’t find the argument that we have a moral imperative to share the American experience with 50 million more immigrants convincing,” - that's what I say. Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

What's striking is how little Ivy League colleges use undergraduate expansion as an engine for this.

The Ivy League has very low faculty to student ratios. 300 student classes are common. Most of the student interaction is with grad students who assist the professors.

ben tillman said...

France has a few ultra-elite schools that are almost as exclusive as the USA elites but their admission is at least one-hundred-percent merit based....

I don't understand your implication that admissions could be more than 100% merit-based.

Anonymous said...

Steve, why aren't you tagging your posts anymore? Categorizing them makes it easier to find them later.

Anonymous said...

Aren't these elite colleges embracing MOOCs precisely to share their experiences with the masses?

CMC said...

Erica Flapan vs. Bryan Caplan at an Intelligence Squared Debate on Immigration.

slumber_j said...

Norfolk Country Club in Norfolk, CT, where I'm a member and play about 1.5 rounds a year, is staffed entirely by white people born in the area as far as I can tell. That's 'cause that's who there is there. I don't notice the grass withering from year to year or anything of the sort.

The same is true of the gardeners / landscapers thereabouts, by the way. And they get paid pretty well, and nobody seems to bat an eye about it. Funny.

Anonymous said...

@ben tillman: he is not implying that admissions could be more than 100% merit based. he is trying to say that while France's grande ecoles take up as tiny of a percentage of total undergraduates as America's Ivy League does in their respective countries, at least France's admissions system is wholly objective.

Anonymous said...

I actually think this can cut both ways. The elite schools keeping their numbers small allows state school graduates to attain positions that would have otherwise been filled by the expanded ranks of elite school graduates.

Anyway, graduate programs (MBA & JD in particular) are the real professional differentiators.

Of course an Ivy undergrad does help substantially in the graduate admissions process... in two ways: the Ivy degree itself and in securing prestigious internships/entry level positions to put on the application.

Anonymous said...

GOP has been checkmated.

No matter which way its pieces are moved, it's mated creatively, demographically, financially, morally, academically, culturally, etc.

Anonymous said...

Newsweek may be dead but liberal media is bigger than ever. Prior to the net, most people--especially the young--didn't read political news. Now, every young person on facebook 'likes' a whole host of information sites that combine politics and entertainment, and so, they feed tons of newsfeed every day. Newsweek and Time never had that kind of access.

And liberal and even leftist facebook pages have a lot more 'likes' than even mainstream conservative pages.

So, newsweek didn't really die. It's been superceded by supernewsweek that is the new media.

One thing though...

in the past magazines were published weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly, so there was an effort to print worthy news and opinion.
Now, e-zines have to come up with new news and opinions on a daily or even hourly basis, so there is so much fluff and filler.

Anonymous said...

elite colleges embracing MOOCs

They can offer online courses, but that's not nearly in the same prestige class as residential degrees.

It's not like Harvard's endowment can't afford to hire more profs, put up a few more dorms, and expand.

Anonymous said...

Difference betwen Harris County Texas were Mittens lost to Obama and Orange County where Mittens won. Orange County is a lot more expensive in Housing but its black population is only 2 percent. Probably the whites voted more for Mittens in Harris but a black/Hispanic combination meet that Mittens lost a percentage point to Obama. Also, OC Asian population voted only 9 percent more for Obama around 53 perccent while in the reast of the US it was in the 70's. Hispanics in Santa Ana voted for Obama around 70 percent. And Coto De Caza and ladera Ranch until 2005 were keeping up with the Hispanic birthrates in Santa Ana and Anaheim.

Anonymous said...

Also, Romney did the best with older marriage folks that were empty nesters not young couples with kids. Proof here,Yes, the Romney campaign won seniors and lost voters under 30, though our numbers were a significant improvement from the 2008 presidential campaign. But was this a tech-driven gap or more reflective of substance?

Like most things in life, the answer is a bit of both. I don’t think it’s very controversial to suggest that a candidate who favors gay marriage and free contraception might have more appeal to a younger demographic. Does anyone want to argue that free contraception is seen as a more pressing issue to your average 21-year-old than to a 55-year-old voter, or that there are more gay rights organizations on college campuses than in VFW halls?

Likewise, why did Mitt Romney win older voters? They are more concerned with the economy than with same-sex marriage, and they are more skeptical of or opposed to Obamacare.

Seniors no longer have kids in school and the Republcians who usually don't want to spend as much as Dems for schools do better with older marriage folks without kids. They do better with this group than people with 3 kids,sorry. to burst your bubble.
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2013/02/lead-romney-2012-strategist-mitt-lost-on-gay-marriage-contraception.html#ixzz2MDPy2HBw

Anonymous said...

In contrast, the Silent generation – whose members reached adulthood between the late 1940s and early 1960s and now make up over 80% of Americans age 65 and older – has held relatively conservative views on social issues and the role of government for most of their lives. Their growing unease, and even anger, about the direction of the country in recent years has moved them further toward the GOP, largely erasing the Democratic Party’s advantage in affiliation Emptynester married couples. Why Mittens did high in West Virginia. and even Utah has a lot of emptynesters even with the young population.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Ive just been looking at Deepdale on Google satellite view. Its interesting the low density of cars parked around the site, employees and members.Of course from that pov I cant be 100% sure whats part of the course and what isnt but it all looks very civilized. Must be a nice place to work at never mind play.

Anonymous said...

"I actually think this can cut both ways. The elite schools keeping their numbers small allows state school graduates to attain positions that would have otherwise been filled by the expanded ranks of elite school graduates."

Presuming the pool of college bound students remains the same, it would mean only that a greater percentage of the pool would have elite degrees, instead of State ones. That means more competition for Master-Of-The-Universe positions. That's exactly what the snobs dont want.
They want to be the conductors, not part of the orchestra, getting blisters from practice because they have to keep their skills top notch to remain competitive.

Anonymous said...

Claremont itself is kind of a SWPL, no-growth enclave. 70% white. It boasts a whopping 20% Hispanic demographic (lower, if you exclude the Conquistadors) in the Inland Freakin Empire; neighboring Pomona is, by contrast, 30% white. Population growth? Since 1990, Claremont has grown by 4.6%. Its equally SWPLy neighbor, La Verne, has grown by 2.6%. Ontario, by contrast, grew by 18% and Pomona by 13%.

Table 8-2 in this document:

Anonymous said...

Could California's valleys be transformed into THIS? Environmental fears as 15.4bn barrels of shale oil are found beneath fertile farmland
•Oil is under 1,750 square miles of central and southern California
•The oil, which is deeper beneath the surface than other reserves and hidden in pockets, can finally be reached thanks to developed technology

•Companies are quietly buying up mineral rights to the public land
•But it is also galvanising environmentalists who are fighting against the use of 'fracking' to extract the oil and fear damage to the fertile land

FWG said...

Because golf fairways are more important than any potential drawbacks an open southern border may bring.

I love golf so I found this funny, but it's ludicrous Bloomberg thinks this, much less says it openly.

Growing up, I lived on a golf course, and I didn't notice any Mexican workers. I moved in 2006 though, so who knows what it's like now.

Anonymous said...

The three largest counties, the Republicans did the best in the state were Orange, San Diego and Riverside. Orange is above the national average income because of white and some asian income. San Diego is slighly above the national average and Riverside is near the national average. All three counties urbanized late compared to La or the Bay areas. San Diego is showing a trend toward the Dems but Obama only won the county by 5 percent. Actually, Orange, San Diego and Riverside have suffered because of illegal immirgation and probably Orange and San Diego would have had incomes closed to the Bay area if their Hispanic populations where still in the 20's. Elites in the Bay area and La supported the Hispanization of Orange and San Diego to cut the moderates and conservatives off.

Anonymous said...

Do all these "Jewish" country clubs around New York City discriminate against Gentiles?

Are Gentile applicants for membership viewed disfavorably compared to Jewish applicants?

Anonymous said...

Pomona College was Revilo Pendleton Oliver's undergraduate school. I doubt they boast of that, though.

Anonymous said...


Bill said...


You can get enrollment info for US universities in this database:


You can see, for example, Harvard fall enrollment all the way back to 1980. I assume you could get data in less convenient forms further back than that by contacting the relevant bureaucrat at the Dept of Ed.

For example, full-time undergraduate enrollment at Harvard:

1980: 4,162
2011: 7,207

Not the most convenient website to use, though

Anonymous said...


Powerful John Ford movie.

MC Vi'Brancy said...

Sorry, come pletely of-topic off you're post.