Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When Young Men Are Scarce, They're More Likely To Play The Field Than To Propose

Date:
June 10, 2009
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
In places where young women outnumber young men, research shows the hemlines rise but the marriage rates don't because the young men feel less pressure to settle down as more women compete for their affections.

In places where young women outnumber young men, research shows the hemlines rise but the marriage rates don't because the young men feel less pressure to settle down as more women compete for their affections.

But when those men reach their 30s, the reverse is true and proportionately more older men are married in areas where women outnumber men.

Daniel Kruger, a University of Michigan researcher who studies evolution and how it relates to contemporary behavior, looked at the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States to test his hypothesis on how the balance between women and men affects marital patterns. Results showed that men aged 20-24 are more likely to cruise than to commit if they live in an area with more women than men.

One would think that rationally, fewer young men than women would naturally lead to proportionately more young men getting married, but that's not the case.

"Marriage patterns aren't rational because men and women have somewhat different reproductive strategies," Kruger said. "Men have a greater reproductive benefit than women from having a greater quantity of relationships. If they can leverage their scarcity into attracting multiple short-term partners, they will not have as much of an incentive to settle down."

There are about nine unmarried men for every 10 unmarried women in Birmingham, Memphis, New Orleans, and Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia, Kruger says. Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and New York metropolitan areas are tied for the next region where women are relatively most plentiful. In these areas, about 84 percent of the men aged 20-24 are unmarried. In Las Vegas, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Austin, and Phoenix, there are about nine unmarried women for every 10 unmarried men. In these areas, about 77 percent of the men aged 20-24 are unmarried.

Once those young men hit their 30s, they tend to shift from seeking short-term relationships to entering into committed relationships. That's because when women evaluate partners for short-term relationships they value physical features signaling the kind of genes that would be passed on to potential offspring, which may be the only legacy of men who don't stick around for child rearing. These physical features decline as men age, making it more difficult to lure women into uncommitted relationships.

"You see a complete reversal in the pattern," Kruger said, and thus, proportionately more older men are married when women outnumber men.

So, does this mean that middle aged women in these cities get a break? Not really, Kruger says. The higher marital rates for older men likely benefit women who are substantially younger than their husbands, because older men still prefer partners with higher reproductive potential.

The ratio of men to women has other aspects, as well. For instance, studies have shown that when women outnumber men, hemlines actually rise, overall, as women to do more to physically attract men. Also, the rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births are higher, and interests in women's rights increases. Surpluses of men tend to be associated with more conservative social norms and restricted roles for women.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Daniel J. Kruger. When Men are Scarce, Good Men are Even Harder to Find: Life History, the Sex Ratio, and the Proportion of Men Married. Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology, 2009 - 3 (2): 93-104.
  2. Daniel J. Kruger and Erin Schlemmer. Male scarcity is differentially related to male marital likelihood across the life course. Evolutionary Psychology, (in press)

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "When Young Men Are Scarce, They're More Likely To Play The Field Than To Propose." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609220829.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2009, June 10). When Young Men Are Scarce, They're More Likely To Play The Field Than To Propose. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609220829.htm
University of Michigan. "When Young Men Are Scarce, They're More Likely To Play The Field Than To Propose." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609220829.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) — An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins