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Australia’s Man-Drought Is Real

You’re really not imagining things.  There are far less men around than usual according to researchers, who recently announced the results of an examination into the ratio of men to women across all eight states and territories.

They found that the so-called man drought is a very real worry in three quarters of the country, with almost 100,000 more women in men. The analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ figures shows a shocking disparity in the number of men and women around, despite more male babies being born than females.

The disruption in the normal ratios suddenly comes into effect around the age of 35, when many men are being tempted to work abroad. It’s an unexpected side effect of a more global workforce and economy that lures Australian men to take advantage of better work opportunities overseas.

You might expect the figures to wander back into some sort of normality when people near retirement age, but the worrying trend seems to be that by the time you’re looking at people in their 70s and 80s the natural longevity of women when compared to men means that there are even less men around in those golden years.

The man drought is worse in the east of the country, with Tasmania and Victoria experiencing the greatest imbalances. In Victoria, which has the second lowest fertility rate in Australia, the state has 98 men to every 100 women. This may not sound a huge difference, but this equals 58,399 more women than men in that state alone.

Observers claim that part of the reason for this is that Victoria is not hugely involved in the defence or mining sectors, traditionally more male dominated areas of business, and that many of its men have travelled to work in the mining industry in Western Australia. This in turn accounts for Western Australia and the Northern Territory bucking the man drought trend. It’s not because the balance of births is any different, but that men are being drawn there looking for work.

In the Northern Territory there are almost 111 men to every 100 women, and in Western Australia the figures equal 102 men to every 100 women.

There are small pockets dotted around – Singleton in New South Wales has five percent more men than women, and their average age is 33. Mt Isa in Queensland has twelve percent more men than women, while Spring Hill has a whopping twenty seven percent more men than women. This proves that while there very definitely is a man drought across Australia, there are men available.

So what do the researchers suggest for any woman looking for a man? Firstly they suggest looking for younger men. Below the age of 36, the ratio is heavily in favour of more men than women. Australian brides these days are usually about two years younger than their groom, with brides marrying later than ever at an average age of 28. If that 28 year old woman starts looking for a groom her own age or younger, she’ll likely be pleasant surprised to find that there are 103 men for every 100 women out there, giving her plenty of options.

Secondly, the researchers advise spreading your nets wider, and especially to look overseas. While you might have good luck just looking towards the west of the country, it’s worth noting that there are over seventy neighbouring countries with more men than women – both due to quirks of employment, housing and education, but also because that’s where men have gone looking for work.

Basically, the researchers say, don’t sit around and hope that the man drought is going to get any better if you just wait for change – get out there and see what’s just around the corner and if you like it, go for it.

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This post was written by James

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