Men currently outnumber women globally by 66 million. Just let that sink in for a moment. Although women tend to outnumber men in many countries around the world, some nations are in desperate need of more women, and that need has a huge impact on society. If you don’t think the shift in sex ratio (the number of men per 100 women) is a big deal then think again. The reasons why men outnumber women in some countries may just surprise you.
Global trends are changing: men are living longer, and more women are entering the workforce. Unfortunately, that means women are starting to pick up some bad habits that are negatively impacting their health. The trends of migrant workers moving throughout the globe also cause these numbers to change. The percentage of females compared to males in the United Arab Emirates is so astronomical because of migrant workers that it’s a wonder any man in that part of the world can find a date on Saturday night.
India, China, and Sweden are just a few countries where men outnumber women. Where will the sex ratio in other European nations be 10 or 20 years down the line? Should the world be concerned about this shift in sex ratio? Yes, yes it should.
According to the World Bank, men currently outnumber women on a global level by 66 million. That astronomical number marks the highest gap ever recorded. One of the main reasons for this trend is because of India and China's societal obsession with producing sons. While most countries in the world still have more women than men, India and China - the two most populated countries in the world - are enough to totally tip the scale. China has 42 million more men than women. India has 48 million more men than women. Just these two countries account for 75% of the world's gender imbalance.
Both China and India have birth sex ratios well above average compared to the rest of the world. That trend can be expected to continue because of prenatal diagnostic tests, even with both of those countries attempting to lower female abortion rates. In 1994 India banned parents from finding out the sex of their baby because so many parents were aborting female fetuses. However, the laws in India have not been widely effective.
In 2015, China ended its one-child policy. However, many families are reluctant to have any more than one child due to economic factors, and those families often still prefer a son. After the 2015 law change, Mu Guangzong, a professor of demography at Peking University, said that he did not think many families would be rushing to have a second child.
"I don’t think a lot of parents would act on it, because the economic pressure of raising children is very high in China... The birthrate in China is low and its population is aging quickly, so from the policy point of view, it’s a good thing, as it will help combat a shortage of labor force in the future. But many parents simply don’t have the economic conditions to raise more children.”
China's one-child policy has had a detrimental impact on the country's female population. In his book The Demographic Future, Nicholas Eberstadt wrote about the policy's consequences:
"China will face a growing number of young men who will never marry due to the country’s one-child policy, which has resulted in a reported birth ratio of almost 120 boys for every 100 girls…By 2030, projections suggest that more than 25% of Chinese men in their late 30s will never have married. The coming marriage squeeze will likely be even more acute in the Chinese countryside, since the poor, uneducated and rural population will be more likely to lose out in the competition for brides."
In 2015, it was determined that the greatest gender imbalance was found in the Arabian Peninsula. The biggest gap was found within the United Arab Emirates, with females making up only about one quarter of the population. That area of the world became a hotbed for migrant workers in the '70s after the rise in oil prices. Most of those migrant workers are males from South Asia who were not allowed to bring their wives or children with them when they left home.