The great Australian man drought

Wednesday July 11, 2007
Couple holding hands (Getty Images)

Recent Census results revealed that women outnumber men between the ages of 30 and 50 in Australia .

Instigating what is being called the great Australian man drought, social researcher and demographer Mark McCrindle talks to TODAY about Australia's gender differences.

Statistics show that in the under 26 age group there are more males than females in Australia. But after the age of 27, the gender dynamic shifts and suddenly there are more females to males.

During this time, there are 100 men for every 103 women.

"The numbers start shifting in the late twenties and then there is a definite change at 30," explains McCrindle. "Introducing the 'man drought' that continues for women from the age of 30 through to their fifties."

"The gender change is quite prevalent for 36-year-old people in Australia. In this age group there are actually 9000 more women then men," says McCrindle.

The man drought is not affecting the whole of Australia. Western Australia has an equal balance between males and females and the Northern Territory actually has a higher ratio of males to females.

"It's believed that the Northern Territory and Western Australia have a higher male ratio because of the military bases and mining areas," suggests McCrindle.

One explanation for the man drought is global workforce trends of men going overseas for employment. "It is thought that Australian men disappear mostly through job migration and getting hitched," says McCrindle.

"The overseas labour market targets men from mid-twenties to mid fifties," says McCrindle. "It gives an explanation for the decrease in men during this age group. The gender difference begins to change again when women reach the age of 50."

"When a woman hits her late fifties there are suddenly more men to choose from again," explains McCrindle. "This shift in the female's favour continues up until about the age of 65."

After the age of 65 women start to outnumber men again. This is mostly becuase a woman's life expectancy is five years longer than that of a man. "The life expectancy for a male is 78 and for a female it is 83," says Mr McCrindle.

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