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Operational Sex Ratio

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Dr. Griskevicius speaking on the mating game. The economic consequences are big. (source) The mate market isn’t what it used to be. As late as the mid-1970s, single women outnumbered single men at all reproductive ages. A reversal then took place throughout the Western world. The “operational sex ratio” slipped from male scarcity to parity... Read More
Averaged face of blue-eyed male subjects (left). Averaged face of brown-eyed male subjects (right). Czech population. (Kleisner et al., 2010) If sexual selection of women diversified the eye color of early Europeans, the new colors should tend to be sex-linked, since the selection targeted women more than men. There is now evidence that blue eyes... Read More
In North America and Western Europe, the past forty years have seen a radical shift in the marriage market. Before, there were too few single men, particularly past the age of 25. Now, there are too many at all reproductive ages … and even beyond. A similar shift has occurred in East Asia, in part... Read More
Blue = more men than women, Red = more women than men US Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey, marital status by sex and age. Over the past forty years, there has been a remarkable flip-flop in the ratio of single males to single females, particularly in the reproductive age bracket. Beginning in the late... Read More
Denise Liberton, an anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University, has been studying variation in human facial features. At an upcoming meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, she’ll be presenting a comparative study of European and West African facial morphology. The main thrust of her presentation is that the shape of the face has differentiated... Read More
When Pedersen wrote the above almost two decades ago, he did not exactly fear the new marriage market of too many men chasing too few women. In fact, his prognosis was largely upbeat. There would be “lower divorce rates”, “greater marital stability”, “enhanced marital satisfaction for women”, “greater commitment by males to procurement of economic... Read More
Except for frontier areas, single women used to outnumbered single men on the American marriage market. This situation has reversed since the late 1970s and early 1980s because of falling male mortality and the rising numbers of older men divorcing and remarrying (Pedersen, 1991). Similar reversals have occurred throughout the Western world. In this new... Read More
Beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a reversal took place throughout the Western world in the ratio of single men to single women among people of reproductive age. This sex ratio slipped from male scarcity to parity and then to a relative excess of males, due to a decline in male mortality and... Read More
I was visiting cousins in Collingwood and the subject of conversation turned to a 30-something bachelor who lived down the road. “Maybe he just enjoys being single,” I said. “Oh, no,” came the reply. “He wants to get married. He’s tried everything: dating clubs, church groups. Nothing seems to work.” “Well, maybe he’s ugly or... Read More
Does closeness to the equator make a woman likelier to have daughters? So says Kristen Navara (2009) in a recent article in Biology Letters: The article notes that this pattern results largely from low sex ratios at birth in sub-Saharan Africa. This is no surprise. Many other authors have noted relatively low numbers of male... Read More
Among early modern humans, men faced less mate competition with increasing distance from the equator. They were proportionately fewer in number and fewer of them could afford a second wife. This was partly because hunting distances were correspondingly longer, so that more men died of hunting fatalities, and partly because longer winters made polygyny costlier.... Read More
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