When men outnumber women, females marry younger

September 16th, 2010 - 2:33 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Sep 16 (ANI): In a society where men outnumber women, females tend to tie the knot with younger and the age gap between spouses grows, revealed a University of Michigan study.

The study looked at the ratio of men to women in the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S with 2000 U.S Census data to determine how it impacted marital ages.

“Women don’t stay on the market long because men are more motivated to commit. They want to secure the relationship before some other guy gets her,” said Daniel Kruger, research assistant professor in the U-M School of Public Health.

Male and female behaviour differ because each gender has a somewhat different reproductive agenda, and the ratio of men to women impacts that behavior.

Women want commitment from men because having a reliable, stable provider greatly benefits their children, said Kruger.

This means men may have to build up their social status and resources to be considered marriageable.

However, men can have more offspring with multiple sexual partners and thus are not as eager to settle down, said Kruger.

But the economics of supply and demand adds a twist, he added.

“When women are scarce they have more bargaining power and can ask for more. So the guys who are qualified will snap up the women and get hitched, whereas others need more time to build up their resources and social status,” said Kruger.

As a result, the marrying age for men varies more widely when women are scarce, because younger men often have to wait until they’re older to gather the resources to successfully compete for a mate, said Kruger.

“All things being equal, the guy with the better resources is going to win out,” said Kruger.

The age gap between spouses also widens. The norm is for men to marry women three to four years younger but when women are scarce women can be five or six years younger on average, said Kruger.

When the ratio of men to women is greatly out of balance, it creates social tension and encourages markets for services like sex trafficking and prostitution, Kruger said.

When there is a surplus of men, there are likely higher rates of accidents and violence as men engage in riskier behaviour to compete for women and resources.

When there is a surplus of women, sexually transmitted disease can increase as women become more promiscuous.

When women outnumber men, there is less incentive for competition among men for committed relationships and paternal investment, because male scarcity enhances their short- term mating success, Kruger said.

In short, men tend to play the field longer because there isn’t the intense pressure to commit to one woman, he said.

The study appears in the journal Evolutionary Psychology. (ANI)

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