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Old 12-24-2010, 07:15 PM
 
311 posts, read 760,098 times
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Hi everyone,

During the 1970s and 80s, women outnumbered men in the US to such a degree that a 1986 Newsweek article controversially reported that a single, college-educated 40-year-old woman was more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to find a husband. (Newsweek later apologized for that harsh language, as we all know.)

By the turn of the century, however, the demographics had shifted considerably. In 2001, the Wall Street Journal reported that men in their late 30s and early 40s would soon start having trouble finding women (and it would be even more competitive for them if they wanted to pursue younger women: the ratio would be 2:1). Here's an article from the Chicago Tribune from around that same time period, 2002, warning that men would soon find themselves in dire straits in the US.

Let's get to the article first, and then I'd like to ask some questions, since this is a forum that deals with demographic data and statistics.

As the article explains, one reason that male/female shortages occur is because of fluctuations in the birthrate.

(2002)
Marriage: The woman shortage - Chicago Tribune

Quote:
Marriage: The Woman Shortage

Adam Rosen has a law degree from Villanova and trained in psychology at Harvard. He's also handsome and has a passion for social causes. But there's one thing the 37-year-old bachelor doesn't have in his life: candidates to be Mrs. Rosen.

"I thought I'd be married by 30," says the Boston therapist. "This is a great divergence from what I imagined my life would be."

There's a new biological clock out there--the one ticking inside bachelors. After decades in which men statistically had the upper hand in the dating world, the demographics have reversed: For a big chunk of the dating pool--people ages 30 to 44--the number of single men and women are now about even, or in some cases, slightly tipped in women's favor. The odds are especially dismal for men looking for younger mates: By 2010, according to the United States Census Bureau, men in their late 30s and early 40s will outnumber women five to 10 years younger by two to one.

`The tables have turned'

What's happening here is a subtle but significant change in the birth rate. While the numbers of boys and girls born every year are roughly the same, the overall birthrate dropped 40 percent from 1955 to 1973. Because more than half of all men marry younger women, that means their pool of prospects shrinks a bit every year. "The tables have turned," says Sherry Cooper, an economist who has written about demographic shifts. "Guys in that 35-year-old range are going to have a harder time."

Matchmakers and dating companies are already seeing the impact. Social Circles, a New York singles group, has seen membership among 35- to 44-year-old men soar 25-fold since it started in 1997, while women in the same age group grew at about half that rate.

At It's Just Lunch, which pairs professionals, the percentage of female membership dropped 9 percent in the last three years. And online firm Match.com is so eager to recruit women, it started a new ad campaign to find more.

"We're all chasing after the same women," says Jim Hague, a 33-year-old Web designer from California who says he got only a handful of daily e-mails from some online services. His female friends, however, got 200 e-mails a day. Indeed, 40-year-old Suzanne Mulroy got so many e-mails from her service that she put it on hold. "I thought I'd get a response," Mulroy says, "but I didn't think I was going to get this deluge."

All of which, of course, is a significant shift from the 1980s; at the start of that decade, for example, there were about 1.3 women for every eligible man from 35 to 44. The odds were even better for the narrower group of men in their late 30s dating women in their early 30s: Almost two women for every single man. Many people still remember the 1986 Newsweek article that famously, if controversially, declared that a single, college-educated, 40-year-old woman had a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than of ever tying the knot.

Odds worse for men

But in the years since, the odds have gotten worse for the one-time supermale. Far from an abundance of bachelorettes, today there's a small shortage -- for every million 30-something women, there is a surplus of 80,000 men of the same age. Men looking for younger women will find even more competition: Within nine years, there will be one woman that's 30 to 34 for every two men 35 to 44, according to one set of projections by the United States Census.

How did this shift occur? For starters, with more women than men on the dating scene, men played the field and postponed marriage--sometimes until their 40s, much later than previous generations.

Thinking they had tons of options, especially as divorce rates grew, some men got pickier, too, demanding not only good looks but also good jobs from their mates. That narrowed the field even more: By one estimate, men in their early 30s making $75,000 or more outnumber women of the same earning power two to one.

Pop culture's part

All the while, pop culture only perpetuated the belief that men had the advantage, with shows like "Sex and the City" and novels like "Bridget Jones's Diary" harping on themes of the desperate, single woman.
And lots of people still believe it. "Men feel they have the upper hand," says Lisa Doherty, a 40-year-old public-relations executive.

When she has gone on dates, Doherty says men have told her they want a younger woman.

But slowly, evidence of the shift is cropping up.

Take personal ads, the quintessential dating device of the '80s and '90s. While the ratio of men to women placing ads varies from city to city, many towns are seeing notable jumps in male advertisers. At Chicago Magazine, for example, the percent of personals placed by women skidded 38 percent in just two years.

So when will things get better for members of the lonely hearts men's club?

Not until the generation born in the late 1970s and early 1980s comes of marriageable age, according to demographers. By then, higher birthrates will tip the scales back in men's favor. About 2005, experts say it'll be rich pickings for men who now are in their early 20s.
First I'd like to say that that last sentence turned out to be right on the money, because as someone who was 22 at the time this article was written, I did indeed have a fantastic year of dating around 2005. So the prediction was spot-on for me. What I remember from that year is that places such as nightclubs and bars were absolutely packed with women around that time.

Let's fast-forward to today, 2010/11. (Almost a decade has passed since that article was written.)

From what I can tell, there is currently a noticeable shortage of women, and it has been like that for a couple of years. Clubs and bars seem to have a surplus of single men, and dating sites also have skewed male/female ratios. When I'm out and about these days, I notice the shortage as well. There seem to be visibly more men than women on the subway, at Starbucks, etc. (I live in DC.) I have been single for quite some time now, with no prospects of the situation getting better anytime soon despite considerable effort.

Now I have some questions for the experts here, who deal with Census data or can confirm/deny the trends described above:

1) Is there really a "woman shortage" right now?
2) What demographic shifts, if any, are expected in the coming years, for both men and women entering 'marriageable age' right now (e.g. 20-30), given things like the birthrate, immigration, etc.?

Basically, is there any data or articles similar to the one above, but more recent ones, that would describe the current situation and trends?

Last edited by Eugene80; 12-24-2010 at 07:24 PM..

 
Old 12-24-2010, 11:13 PM
 
4,837 posts, read 7,596,115 times
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Default Depends on Your Point of View!

There is rough parity but one factor that ensures that there are more single men than women overall, is immigration. Far more single men immigrate than single women. For instance, Canada has the highest per capita immigration in the world and for people aged 18 to 45, there are 5 million unmarried men and 4 million unmarried women. Since these numbers include those cohabiting and they cancel each other out, the ration is not 5:4 but probably exceeds to 3:2.

However, the real issue is geography. Wherever the economy is relatively good, men, especially single men are attracted in droves. In some cities, the ratio exceeds 3:2 (3 single men) and in the prime marrying years, it is closer to 2:1. In remote communities, the ratio can approach 10:1.

In contrast, places with no jobs have fewer single men but even more distressing,for single women, even fewer who can afford marriage and then alimony. Of course, they could always move to where the jobs are.

There is one other factor. When tested, most women were found to state that they find most men (about 80%) to be below average in looks. With this sort of attitude, there must be a very severe shortage of "available" men, no matter where you live or what age you are.
 
Old 12-25-2010, 12:41 AM
 
8,680 posts, read 12,839,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene80 View Post
From what I can tell, there is currently a noticeable shortage of women, and it has been like that for a couple of years. Clubs and bars seem to have a surplus of single men, and dating sites also have skewed male/female ratios. When I'm out and about these days, I notice the shortage as well. There seem to be visibly more men than women on the subway, at Starbucks, etc. (I live in DC.) I have been single for quite some time now, with no prospects of the situation getting better anytime soon despite considerable effort.

I wonder how much of a change there has really been in D.C. I lived in the area from 1984 to 2007, and there always seemed to be more men than women on the Metro, in clubs and bars, and out and about. My sister noticed it when she came to visit in 1989. She couldn't believe the number of men in the bars. She actually thought Sign of the Whale on M Street was a gay bar when we first walked in.

I'm guessing that it's because of the high concentration of military bases in the area and the tech corridor.
 
Old 12-26-2010, 09:27 AM
 
279 posts, read 287,470 times
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Default Different perceptions on man/woman shortage

Strange. Some people are observing a "woman shortage" in the DC area:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene80 View Post
From what I can tell, there is currently a noticeable shortage of women, and it has been like that for a couple of years. Clubs and bars seem to have a surplus of single men, and dating sites also have skewed male/female ratios. When I'm out and about these days, I notice the shortage as well. There seem to be visibly more men than women on the subway, at Starbucks, etc. (I live in DC.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avienne View Post
I wonder how much of a change there has really been in D.C. I lived in the area from 1984 to 2007, and there always seemed to be more men than women on the Metro, in clubs and bars, and out and about.
On the other hand, others have observed a "woman surplus" in the same region (see thread "Single women outnumbering single men in the eastern cities & single men outnumbering single women in the western cities", post #9):

Quote:
Originally Posted by imalert View Post
I noticed the same thing too!
While living in the DC Metropolitan area, I notice that there are way more women here than men. This is probably why many hardworking, single, attractive women like myself are still single.
I suggest you all have a meeting and sort it out. Maybe you're hanging around in different neighborhoods, and you need to get out a bit more beyond your usual cruising zone.

Also, the following statement from the article quoted by the OP seems odd:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene80 View Post
Men looking for younger women will find even more competition: Within nine years, there will be one woman that's 30 to 34 for every two men 35 to 44, according to one set of projections by the United States Census.
So they're saying one group covering 10 birth years is twice as large as another group covering 5 birth years. No surprise there. That statistic doesn't show an imbalance. In fact, it's evidence of the opposite, that there's a balance.
 
Old 12-26-2010, 09:31 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,116,816 times
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Women and men are roughly equal up till about age 65...clubs and dating sites are probably the worst places to do any kind of demographic research.
 
Old 12-26-2010, 09:46 AM
 
Location: syracuse ny
2,412 posts, read 4,388,702 times
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The article uses two people, takes their assumptions, and uses their conclusions as stone cold facts. Wow.
 
Old 12-26-2010, 09:48 AM
 
Location: syracuse ny
2,412 posts, read 4,388,702 times
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And as the person commenting above me stated, the writer uses things like a 5 year comparison to a 10 year comparison to come up with skewed number of 2-1, a common tactic of writers trying to prove their point.
 
Old 12-26-2010, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,283,779 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene80 View Post
When I'm out and about these days, I notice the shortage as well. There seem to be visibly more men than women on the subway, at Starbucks, etc. (I live in DC.) I have been single for quite some time now, with no prospects of the situation getting better anytime soon despite considerable effort.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avienne View Post
I wonder how much of a change there has really been in D.C. I lived in the area from 1984 to 2007, and there always seemed to be more men than women on the Metro, in clubs and bars, and out and about. My sister noticed it when she came to visit in 1989. She couldn't believe the number of men in the bars. She actually thought Sign of the Whale on M Street was a gay bar when we first walked in.

I'm guessing that it's because of the high concentration of military bases in the area and the tech corridor.
Strangely enough, there are supposedly far more single women in DC than men.

maps : Who's Your City? by Richard Florida

40,000 more, according to this map...although that's ages 20-64, so it's a pretty big range. Only 1000 more/year, which isn't statistically THAT many.

My gut says that the places you're looking (the subway, bars) are places more likely to draw in men. Many of these single women statistically are teachers or nurses in the suburbs, and not taking the subway. Or they work lower paying jobs, and can't afford starbucks each day.
 
Old 12-26-2010, 10:23 AM
 
311 posts, read 760,098 times
Reputation: 283
Thanks for the responses.

CaliTerp, Richard Florida's map isn't very useful because like you said he conflates different age ranges. Certainly, if you consider the entire population, there will be more women simply because women outlive men (men die younger). But the relevant question is, what's happening at the specific age range 20-35, which is considered marriageable age? The following map by Jonathan Soma provides a more plausible answer.

The New, Interactive Singles Map. Or, Looking for Love in All the Statistically Wrong Places.

Adjust the slider at the top to restrict the map to specific age ranges of your choice, and you'll see there are serious surpluses of single men almost everywhere in the US up to age 40 and in most cases, like 45-50.

The blue dots (and their relative size) indicate a male surplus. The red dots, of which there are none in the below snapshot of ages 20-35, would indicate a female surplus.

 
Old 12-26-2010, 10:25 AM
 
25,947 posts, read 25,869,596 times
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