Saturday, June 27, 2015

Young, male, and single

The Babylonian Marriage Market, by Edwin Long (1829-1891). There are too many young men on the mate market, particularly in the White American community.


It sucks being young, male, and single. Don't think so? Go to the Interactive Singles Map of the United States and see how it looks for the 20 to 39 age group. Almost everywhere single men outnumber single women.

And the real picture is worse. For one thing, the imbalance is greater among singles without children. This is not a trivial factor, since single mothers are "single" only in the sense of being available for sexual relations. They are still raising offspring from a previous relationship and many are not interested in having more children.

Then there's polygamy—or "polyamory," to use the preferred term—where a minority of men controls sexual access to a larger number of women. If we compare the 1940-1949 and 1970-1979 cohorts of American adults, we find an increase in the number of median lifetime partners from 2.6 to 5.3 among women and from 6.7 to 8.8 among men (Liu et al., 2015). Because this figure is more variable for men than for women, young women are more likely to be sexually active than young men. This is crudely seen in infection rates for chlamydia—the most common sexually transmitted disease. Hispanic Americans still show the traditional pattern of greater sexual activity among men than among women, the rates being 7.24% of men and 4.42% of women. White Americans display the reverse: 1.38% of men and 2.52% of women (Miller et al., 2004).

Finally, there’s a racial angle. This sex ratio is more skewed among White Americans than among African Americans, mainly because the latter have a lower sex ratio at birth and a higher death rate among young men.

It's hard to avoid concluding that a lot of young white men are shut out of the marriage market ... or any kind of heterosexual relationship. This wife shortage was once thought to be temporary, being due to baby-boomer men getting divorced and marrying younger women from the smaller "baby bust" cohort. With time, they would get too old to compete with young men, and the problem should resolve itself.

Today, the crest of the baby boom is entering the seventh decade of life, yet the update to the Interactive Singles Map shows no change to the gender imbalance. So what gives? It appears that demographers have focused too much on the baby-boomer effect and not enough on other factors that matter just as much and, more importantly, show no signs of going away. These factors can be summarized as follows.

Re-entry of older men into the mate market

We have a mate market where 20 to 50 year old men are competing for 20 to 40 year old women. That in itself is nothing new. But something else is.

The baby boom eclipsed an equally important but longer-term trend: more and more men are living past the age of 40. With or without the baby boom, we’ll still see large numbers of older men getting divorced and marrying younger women. The cause isn’t just liberal divorce laws. It’s also the fact we have far more older guys out there as a proportion of the population.

Sure, we will also see younger men pairing up with "cougars" but there are limits to that option, as noted in a New Zealand study:

The male partner may want to partner up with someone younger or have children, which may not be possible with an older woman (for physical reasons or because she chooses not to have (more) children). The younger male partner may not want to become a step-father to existing children. Research has shown that childbearing can be the ultimate deal breaker in this kind of relationship. (Lawton and Callister, 2010)

Persistence of the imbalanced sex ratio at birth

About 105 males are born for every 100 females among people of European origin. This sex ratio used to decline to parity during childhood because of higher infantile mortality among boys. It then declined even farther in early adulthood because of war, industrial accidents, and other hazards. This isn't the distant past. If you talk with women who came of age in the postwar era, they will tell you about their fears of remaining single past the age of thirty. At that age, very few single men were left to go around.

Well, things have changed. The skewed sex ratio at birth is now persisting well into adulthood, thanks to modern medicine and the relative peace that has prevailed since 1945. Women begin to outnumber men only in the 35-39 age group in the United States and in the 40-44 age group in the United Kingdom.

Equalization of male and female same-sex preference

Historically, same-sex preference was more common among men than among women. This gender gap appears to be closing, according to a recent study:

The percent distributions were quite similar for men and women; however, a higher percentage of men identified as gay (1.8%) compared with women who identified as gay/lesbian (1.4%), and a higher percentage of women identified as bisexual (0.9%) compared with men (0.4%). (CDCP, 2014, p. 5) 

Disparities in outmarriage

At present, there are more White American women outmarrying than White American men, particularly in younger age groups. This disparity is mainly in marriages with African American men, there being no gender difference in marriages with Hispanic Americans and the reverse gender difference in marriages with Asian Americans (Jacobs and Labov, 2002; Passel et al., 2010). Overall, this factor further skews the ratio of young single men to young single women in the White American community. 

This disparity isn't new. What is new is its extent, for both legal and common-law marriages. An idea may be gleaned from statistics on children born to White American women, specifically the proportion fathered by a non-White partner. For the U.S. as a whole the proportion in 2013 was between 11% and 20% (the uncertainty is due to 190,000 births for which the father's race was not stated). By comparison, the proportion in 1990 was between 5% and 13% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013; see also Silviosilver, 2015).

Whenever this issue comes up for discussion, there are often reassurances that the disparity will disappear in a post-racial world that has been cleansed of "White privilege." I'm not so sure. The European female phenotype seems to be very popular, and this was so even when white folks were geopolitical weaklings. Today, the term “white slavery” is merely a synonym for prostitution, but it originally meant the enslavement of fair-skinned women for sale to clients in North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.  At the height of this trade, between 1500 and 1650, over 10,000 Eastern Europeans were enslaved each year for export (Kolodziejczyk, 2006; Skirda, 2010). The overwhelming majority were young women and pre-pubertal boys who were valued for their physical appearance. And yet they were powerless.

No, I don't think this kind of preference will disappear as whites lose "privilege."

Exit strategies

So more and more young men are being left on the shelf, particularly in White America. How do they cope? Mostly by turning to porn from Internet websites, videocassettes, or magazines. Love dolls are another option and may grow in popularity as they become more human-like, not only physically but also in their ability to talk and interact.

Another option is outmarriage. In the past, this trend largely concerned older men marrying East Asian or Hispanic women, but we’re now seeing plenty of young men outmarrying via Internet dating sites. Despite the local supply of single women in the African American community, there is a much stronger tendency to look abroad, generally to women in Eastern Europe, South America, or East Asia.

Then there's gender reassignment, which means either entering the other side of the mate market or tapping into the lesbian market. It’s a viable strategy, all the more so because many white boys can be turned into hot trans women. I'm not saying that some young men actually think along those lines, but gender reassignment is functioning that way.

Finally, there's "game." My attitude toward game is like my attitude toward gender reassignment. Both are attempts to push the envelope of phenotypic plasticity beyond its usual limits, and neither can fully achieve the desired result. A lot of boys aren't wired for game, and there are good reasons why, just as there are good reasons why some people are born male. Male shyness isn't a pathology. It's an adaptation to a social environment that values monogamy and high paternal investment while stigmatizing sexual adventurism. Our war on male shyness reflects our perverse desire to create a society of Don Juans and single mothers.

But if game works, why not? Whatever floats your boat.


Ideally, this gender imbalance should be dealt with at the societal level, but I see little chance of that happening in the near future. If anything, public policy decisions will probably worsen the current imbalance. Changes to public policy generally result from a long process that begins when people speak up and articulate their concerns, yet it's unlikely that even this first step will be taken any time soon. Young single men prefer to remain silent and invent nonexistent girlfriends. They also tend to be marginal in the main areas of discourse creation, like print and online journalism, TV, film, and radio production, book writing, etc. Leaf through any magazine, and you'll probably see more stuff about the problems of single women.

So this imbalance will likely continue to be addressed at the individual level through individual strategies.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Sexual Orientation in the 2013 National Health Interview Survey: A Quality Assessment, Vital and Health Statistics, 2(169), December 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Vital Statistics Online  (for discussion, see Silviosilver, 2015 

Jacobs, J.A. and T.B. Labov. (2002). Gender differentials in intermarriage among sixteen race and ethnic groups, Sociological Forum, 17, 621-646. 

Kolodziejczyk, D. (2006). Slave hunting and slave redemption as a business enterprise: The northern Black Sea region in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries, Oriente Moderno, 86, 1, The Ottomans and Trade, pp. 149-159. 

Lawton, Z. and P. Callister. (2010). Older Women-Younger Men Relationships: the Social Phenomenon of 'Cougars'. A Research Note, Institute of Policy Studies Working Paper 10/02 

Liu, G., S. Hariri, H. Bradley, S.L. Gottlieb, J.S. Leichliter, and L.E. Markowitz. (2015). Trends and patterns of sexual behaviors among adolescents and adults aged 14 to 59 years, United States, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 42, 20-26. 

Miller, W.C., C.A. Ford, M. Morris, M.S. Handcock, J.L. Schmitz, M.M. Hobbs, M.S. Cohen, K.M. Harris, and J.R. Udry. (2004). Prevalence of chlamydial and gonococcal infections among young adults in the United States, JAMA, 291, 2229-2236.

Passel, J.S., W. Wang, and P. Taylor. (2010). One-in-seven new U.S. marriages is interracial or interethnic, Pew Research Center, Social & Demographic Trends,

Skirda, A. (2010). La traite des Slaves. L'esclavage des Blancs du VIIIe au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, Les Éditions de Paris Max Chaleil. 

Soma, J. (2013). Interactive Singles Map


Reader said...


One issue is the literal shortage of women, which I myself experienced acutely when I was 27-31 years old.

But there's another: the shortage of attractive, elegant, presentable women within the set of available women. That makes men's competition even more severe, because apparently a lot of women don't look after their appearance, but that's what most men require (secretly).

Now at 34, I no longer feel there's a shortage of women per se, unlike in my youth, but I'm frustrated by how many ugly/unpresentable women I see. This is a different issue. I see a lot of women who don't use make-up, don't style their hair properly, wear bad clothes and shoes, and just don't look sexy (although all of that is within their reach, and easy to do). Therefore, out of all the available women, only a fraction are doing what it takes to look attractive, but the men are competing for that exact subset, and ignoring all the frumpy ones, so the real shortage is even worse.

For example, the success of Asian women in America is no coincidence: they are the only group of women who reliably dress well, and wear heels and make-up. You mentioned something about white women being popular, but that's not the case -- American whites are often frumpy and dowdy, whereas Asians are reliably hot and elegant.

Personally as I've aged, I've moved on from the question of raw sex ratios (which was relevant when I was young) to the question of why only a fraction of women keep themselves elegant/attractive, even though it's in their power to do so, with the rest taking themselves out of contention because men aren't interested in them.

mojrim said...

The obvious rejoinder to your observation is "market forces." Women in your desired age groups present themselves the way they do because they have the advantage and can do so without perceived cost. I would add my own observation that men in your age group are ill-suited to demanding otherwise: jeans, t-shirts, and trainers every day and untucked Old Navy button-downs on dates. You can't expect heels and pearls when you present yourself that way.

EvolutionistX said...

Women complain more about their problems. It's a social thing; it's part of how they bond and how they interact with each other. Men don't seem to have the same impulse to sit around and complain, and when they do, women don't listen.

To the first commenter: I have the same observation about the majority of men in this country. They are overweight, dress badly, and have crappy haircuts. I frequently see couples out on dates where the woman is wearing a nice skirt and blouse, and the man is wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

Even a trivial glance at the things being bought and sold in this country shows that women buy the vast majority of clothes, makeup, hair products/styling services, diet products, etc. Women put far more effort into their appearances than men do. Honestly, the things you consider not much effort are still more than you are doing--when is the last time you wore painful shoes? When did you last spend 2 hours at the salon getting your hair done? When did you last do your nails or wear any kind of makeup? You might if you have hideous disfiguring scars, but otherwise, never.

Asian women don't dress up because they want to look nice, but because Asian culture is intensely status conscious and they want to score a white man to increase their social standing. They refuse to date their own men because they perceive Asian men as low-status. Plus, Asians are naturally thinner than whites. Nothing anyone can do about that.

Guys into "game" have at least figured out that their chances of finding attractive women increase if they put some effort into their appearances and comportment. Alas, there is probably little that can be done on the individual level about the whole country getting fatter until none of us can stand each other.

Anonymous said...

Actually, India/South-Asian men have it the worst in the sexual market.

A study found that when white females were asked which races they’d date and not date, Indian men were the most excluded.

See link:

Indian-American men also intermarry with White-American women at a lower rate than East Asian American men:

See link:

In Canada, South Asians (ie Indian/Pak) also intermarry less than other Asian ethnic groups.

See link:

I also found statistics that indicates that British South Asian men cohabited with White British women at a much lower rate than British Chinese men. I’ll have to find the link again to that study.

India has a more male-skewed sex ratio than China.

See link:
See link:

As to the question of sexual attractiveness, this study from New Zealand found that Indian men have a lower lean mass and higher fat mass than Chinese men and European men.

Go to page 63. This study was done on residents of New Zealand.

Indians in NZ have much lower lean (Fat Free) mass than Europeans, Chinese, Pacific Islanders, and Maoris in NZ. They also have much a higher body fat percentage. That implies that Indians would be less attractive, since muscle and low fat is an attractive physique (while little muscle and fatness is not).

Anonymous said...

Here is some interesting data taken from England. It comes from the National Chlamydia Screening Program, which is a STI-screening program coordinated by the NHS. The sample size is over 400,000. The participants are in the 15-24 age range.

Of all the ethnic groups, “Asian Subcontinent” (ie South Asians from India/Pakistan/Bangladesh) men have the lowest chlamydia positivity rate. Interestingly, South Asian women have a significantly higher positivity rate than the men. The gap between South Asian men and South Asian women is larger than the gender gap for whites. This seems to indicate that a fraction of English South Asian women are pursuing a hypergamous mating strategy, while South Asian men are being squeezed out of the mating market.

Data taken from the OKCupid dating site found that Indian men have the lowest response rate from women, while White men have the highest response rate from women. Even Indian women give same-race men a low response rate, while giving white men a high response rate. So there seems to a pattern of Indian/South-Asian men being squeezed out of the mating market, while Indian women pursue a hypergamous mating strategy.

Peter Frost said...


It's the logic of a seller's market. People, either men or women, will try to improve their appearance if they feel they aren't getting enough attention. If they are getting enough attention, they'll invest their energy in other things. Obesity is another issue: it affects both sexes equally and is related to the increased availability of labor-saving devices on the one hand and the increased availability of high-caloric junk food on the other.

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that 'Polyamory' seems to be strongly dominated by women - at least in the spaces that I have observed both off- and online. There is a strong feminist element in these groups as well. Books like 'The Ethical Slut' etc. are well known among college going leftist women.

Anonymous said...

What are the long term consequences? Will the ratio ever return to be in men's favour?

Also, nowadays, never married bachelors over 40 are considered pariahs and misfits, but will that change and become more common if the current trend continues?

Unknown said...

wow it seems insecure white men who used to previously only either attack and belittle both black men and asian men about status/looks, now have moved on to their newest target which is east-indian men. white men have only somewhat slightly fallen in the marketplace and already some beta-white guys are picking on east-indian men to show off or to save their face, its pathetic. As south-asian men being unpopular with white women that much is true, but white women aren't as popular with non-white men either. even most black men in north-america would choose mixed-black or triracial latin women over white women anyday, and thats why going to brazil for finding women is so popular with black men in the states. majority of Asian and indian men both rather choose their own women over white women, because the stereotype is white women make for bad spouses and atleast for most indian men the phenotype of indian women are on average more appealing than the common white women or asian women even if they both are more fair-skinned(and skin color is really is a big deal in india for both sexes). white women are not the only ones stereotyping non-white men, it goes both ways. And British Chinese men cohabited with White British women at a much higher rate because they are pushed even more so because chinese women in UK are the worst COMPARING to all other ANGLO-countries in intensely running after white man.

Beyond Anon said...

Only 50% of whites have the gene(s) for empathy and an even smaller number of other groups have it ...

Peter Frost said...

Beyond Anon,

Thanks!! This is an interesting lead.

Anonymous said...


Very interesting.

Perhaps most oddly there is an article doing the rounds from Time claiming the opposite problem: That there are too many women and men are spoiled for choice. It focuses on Mormon and Orthodox Jewish communities but is supposedly representative, I expect this is just framing the same issue in a different way - pandering to women as the MSM is wont to do.

What do you make of this article and indeed the book?

Anonymous said...

Great post. However, for completeness this should also include a section on the effects of immigration. Immigrants are disproportionately male, so increased immigration has also led to an increase in the single male:single female ratio.

CarolMooreReport said...

Excellent analysis of topic I've been writing about for years, especially in regards to "black bloc" violence in progressive groups and Internet abuse and harassment of women. The China/India problem is often covered but the western problem and the demographic causes of surplus young males ignored. The issue of women "under dressing" may be related to the problem with too many men reinforcing each others machismo (including through violent entertainment) and thus becoming more anti-social and harder to deal with. After being constantly harassed by these guys a lot of women will just downplay their appearance to ward them off. I did that myself in the 1980s when I was in my 30s and just couldn't be bothered any more! And that's when the guys were still in about equal numbers to women and not as antisocial as today.

Tony said...

Yep, EU immigration into the UK is pretty much male, and young to boot. So that's another factor.

luke said...

This seems to explain the waifu phenomena among white and asian men. Do you plan on making an article about it?