Vice has a new article: It’s Not Your Imagination, Single Women: There Literally Aren’t Enough Men Out There.
Writer Jon Birger knew a [woman who] had been dating a guy for a couple years. She was in her late 30s, really wanted to have kids, [and was] “amazing in every way.” They [broke] up. They’d been dating for over two years and he said he ‘just wasn’t ready to settle down.’ How could a man … be so cavalier about casting aside such an amazing woman?
Likely for one of two reasons. Either he did not want to have children, or he did, and was looking for someone younger. Men who want to start a family are instinctively attracted to women who are in their prime child bearing years, not women in their late 30s, no matter how amazing those women are in other ways.
Birger sought out an answer. Conclusion: There simply aren’t enough college-educated men to go around. For every four college-educated women, there are three college-educated men. The result? What Birger calls a “musical chairs” of the heart: As the men pair off with partners, unpartnered straight women are left with fewer and fewer options—and millions of them are eventually left with no options at all.
So men who aren’t college educated are “no option at all”? That sounds a bit misandric.
So, where are all the men? They exist, they’re just not going to college. Last year about 35 percent more women than men graduated from college. The Department of Education projects that by the class of 2023, there will be 47 percent more women than men [graduating from college]. That’s three women for every two men, essentially.
The problem is going to get worse.
Obviously, none of this would matter if we were all a little more open-minded about who we are willing to date and marry. But there have been multiple studies on this and it turns out Americans have become less likely, over the past 50 years, to marry and date across educational lines. So educational intermarriage—I don’t know if that’s a real term, maybe I just made it up—is at its lowest rate in 50 years.
And by ‘we’, the author means women. The reason Americans have become less likely to marry across educational lines is that when there were more educated men than women, men were happy to marry down, but now there are more educated women than, and they are not.
Among non-college-educated singles ages 22 to 29, there are 9.4 million men and 7.1 million women. And if you look at the women in that age group who are non-college-educated, something like 30 percent of the women are married but only 22 percent of the men are married.
Not surprising. This means there are 7.3 million unmarried men and 5.0 million women. If there are 3 unmarried men for every 2 woman, there are going to be men who can’t find a mate. Notice that no one is saying that anything needs to be done about this problem. When the media bemoan the lack of educated men, its hard to have any sympathy.
Fully-employed, non-college-educated men age 25 to 30 who are married earn 20 percent more than the ones who are not married. In order to get married and attract a wife, you have to earn more and be more entrepreneurial and work harder.
I’d guess that these factors are not purely effect and cause. In other words, marriage causes a man to work harder, too. But yes, women marry for resources.
Women seem less likely to date men less intelligent than themselves. Both men and women are unlikely to date and marry across those lines. It just doesn’t matter for the men because the pool of educated women is so vast that their own classism doesn’t really punish them. But being unwilling to consider working-class guys affects women in ways that it doesn’t affect men. It’s totally unfair, and I get that, but it’s not like only the women are choosy and the men are all open-minded.
I call bullshit on Birger’s claim. I know of no evidence that men are unwilling to marry down. In fact, I’ve seen statistics that indicate the opposite.
Once upon a time, colleges were discriminating blatantly against female applicants, thinking they only went to college to get their Mrs. degrees. High schools did a particularly wretched job when it came to teaching girls in math and sciences. So there are a whole host of reasons why girls underperformed in high school and were discriminated against when it came to college applications, but Title IX leveled the playing field.
Clearly it has done more that level the playing field.
Claudia Golden, an economist at Harvard, concludes that the [birth-control] pill [is] the big driver of gains in female college enrollment [due to] the expectation of workforce participation. If you’re getting married at 21 or 22 and having kids soon thereafter, the payoff of going to college is very small. If you can plan your life with greater certainty and delay marriage and childbirth, the investment value of college goes up. So she credits the pill.
There is certainly merit to this argument.
Discrimination [against women] obscured a fundamental biological truth: Girls’ brains mature at a faster rate than boys’ brains, girls mature [faster] socially and intellectually. They’re about a year ahead of boys. When it comes to actual schoolwork, girls do their homework better, girls are more organized, they’re less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, they don’t get put in jail [at the same rates]. So I think girls have a developmental advantage when it comes to college preparation.
There’s less truth to this one. When it comes to intelligence, the developmental advantage for girls peaks at about age 14, and by age 16, boys have caught up. The wider variance in men’s intelligence means that the most intelligent men (presumably the ones going to college) have a significant advantage on average over the most intelligent women. But as more and more people go to college, that average advantage decreases.
A lot of elite private colleges are already engaging in quiet, de-facto, under-the-table affirmative action for boys. I went to Brown. The acceptance rate for boys is 11 percent; for girls it’s 7 percent. The worst example is Vassar. Their acceptance rate for boys is 34 percent and for girls it’s 18 or 19 percent.
I’d like to see some statistics that support these claims.
What’s interesting is that if you look at the top public universities that are bound by Title IX [when it comes to admissions], they all accept girls at a higher rate than boys.
As I said, so much for a level playing field.
Girls are better applicants.
Again, I call bullshit. Applications are subjective, and there are huge disincentives for admitters be fair to men, and huge incentives for bias in favor of women.
Do you think that the attitude of men in their 30s and 40s who don’t feel the need to settle down can be chalked up purely to the way the deck is stacked in their favor?
How ironic that changing things to stack the deck in women’s favor in university admissions has given men the upper hand in the dating market.
It seems obvious that if women are in short supply then you’re going to try harder to hold on to [your wife]. There’s actually a lot of social science [research] on sex ratios that grows out of animal behavior and zoology. What they found is that the male desertion rate, once they made the population overly male, declined from 22 percent to 11 percent.
Another bullshit argument, since two thirds of divorces are instigated by women, not men.
More and more women are deciding to live independent lives and not get married; could that trend actually be the result of there just not being enough men?
You can also ask the same question about hookup culture. I’m not the morality police, but at the same time I kind of wonder if men and women—women in particular—would be less enthused about hookup culture if traditional relationships were more available. I don’t know the answer to that, but I wonder.
Hookup culture is one of the big reasons that traditional relationships are less available. Women today are like Mrs. Robinson: They laugh about and shout about while they are young, but when they’ve got to choose, everywhere they look, they lose.
Once everybody knows that guys are acting like pigs or that women are better off expanding their dating pool, the behavior will change.
Telling guys they are acting like pigs is not going to make them more likely to want to marry. If anything, it will make them less inclined. Women will either expand their dating pools, or many will remain single.
[In] the African-American community where there’s almost twice as many women graduating from college as men, these [cross-educational] pairings are far more common. There’s some Pew research data showing that African-American women are more likely to marry men [who are less educated than them.]
Yet statistics show that when women marry down, 75% of such marriages end in divorce.
There are no simple solutions to these problems. Educated women will have to learn to override their hypergamous instincts. Poor men will have to hope that women are able to adjust to the changes they have brought about.