Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where Women Get Married Younger

Surprise, surprise. The law of supply and demand in alive and well and can be seen in personal relationships, if this story is to be believed. It is from LiveScience.com's Stephanie Pappas.

Where single women are rare, women marry earlier, researchers reported Aug.
4 in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.
However, the way this is written, it could also be a tautology. Perhaps there are fewer single women where women marry earlier… because they're married younger instead of spending more time being single? Or, simply reverse the phrasing of the sentence - where women marry earlier, single women are rare. The news folks clearly want to give the impression that because there are fewer single women, men are more likely to propose to and marry a woman, or do so sonner, and maybe our intuition agrees, but can we be sure?

The shift may be because the ladies have more men to choose from, while the
men have extra motivation to put a ring on it.

Perhaps. But we’re comparing different places. If we could somehow observe one city under steady conditions, with the only variable being how many new single women move into the city per year, we could get a better idea of what is going on for sure. Perhaps some cities are more likely to have people who get married younger?

"Women are basically getting snapped up, because the guys want to get her before somebody else does," study author Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan, told LiveScience.
That's reasonable to think, considering male nature.

To find out, Kruger analyzed census data on marriage age and gender imbalances in the 50 largest metropolitan areas in America. Using the data, he calculated what's called an operational sex ratio, which is the number of sexually available men per 100 sexually available women, multiplied by 100. A ratio of 100 means a balanced population, while numbers larger than 100 indicate a surplus of men. A ratio of 110, for example, means 11 men are available for every 10 women. A ratio of 90 would mean nine men are available for every 10 women.
Got that?

After controlling for income and race, Kruger found that in areas where women were scarce, women married slightly earlier. Men's average age of marriage didn't change relative to the abundance of potential mates, but they did show more variability in the age when they married than women did.
In general, the worth of man as a potential marriage partner tends to increase as he gets older, because women are attracted to confidence/security/income/wealth or status/power/fame, and a man is likely to have more of those things as he gets older (to a certain age). In general, women shouldn't wait too long to cash in their chips because their youth (including ability to have a successful pregnancy producing a healthy baby without expensive fertility aids) and beauty are what initially attract men. My female single friend who is nearing 40? She used to talk about marrying a doctor. That ain't going to happen now unless he's in his later 50s or older. Doctors her age can attract women in their 20s. Harsh? Perhaps. But true. She could make a great wife, but how is a guy going to know that if he won't even bother to get to know her as he is busy dating younger women?

The article goes on to say that Las Vegas has 116 men for every 100 women, and the median marriage age for women is 24.5 (are we counting drive through weddings by tourists, or only residents?). San Dieago has 115 men for every 100 women, and the median age is 25.9. Salt Lake city has 113 men for every 100 women, and the median age is 23.2 (shortly after the mission, no?). Austin has 112 men for every 100 men, and the age is 26.2. Phoenix has 111 men for every 100 women, and the age is 25.

On the flip side, Birmingham, Alabama has 88 men for every 100 women, and the age is 26.7. Memphis has 88 men for every 100 women, and the age is 27.2 years. New Orleans has 89 men for every 100 women, and the age is 27.8. Richmond has 89 men for every 100 women and the age is 26.3. There’s a hree-way tie for New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., with 92 men for every 100 women, and the ages were 28.3, 27.9 and 27.8, respectively.

Did they consider Alaska? Women used to be very scarce there. I wonder if that is still true.

I think there are some other important considerations that have to be taken into account. How many men are on a marriage strike? How many women don't want to marry? I think they have to be excluded from these kinds of studies. You have to compare the number of men who want to get married or are married to the number of women who want to get married or are married, excluding people who are exclusively homosexual. The stats should be further broken down into 1) people who have no moral qualms/community pressures against casual sex, 2) people who have no moral qualms/community pressures against nonmarital presumed monogamy (but have or perceive disapproval of casual sex), and 3) people who personally believe or are part of communities that stress that sex is for marriage only.

What are the shack up rates?

I suspect that it isn't just a matter of how many single women there are – it is how many single women there are who are willing to put out for a guy they barely know. How many women, unmarried, are willing to cook, clean, do laundry, shack up, etc.? If a guy without strong convictions about saving sex for marriage or getting married at all can get women to do these things regularly without marriage, he's going to be much less motivated to get married. If his girlfriend pressures him, there are a bunch of other women who are willing to have sex with him to whom he can move on.

We don't live in the days of living and dying on the same rural family farm. People can relocate with less effort than ever. Guys should never get married because of a dwindling number of available women in their locality or social circle. A guy should get married because and when 1) he wants to get married; 2) he is prepared to be a husband (including the fact that he has established himself and reached the track to his dream); and 3) he has found the right woman to be his wife. #2 will mean that he can attract better and more beautiful women.

The most attractive women tend to gravitate to cities, where men who earn more can be found – especially Los Angeles, Dallas, and Miami, which also have climates where women can show off their figures quite blatantly throughout most of the year.

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