Pedestrians walk across a busy Sydney street intersection in 2004. Australia is in the grip of a "man drought" where women increasingly outnumber men and a good bachelor is hard to find. [Agencies]
Australia is in the grip of a "man drought" where women increasingly outnumber men and a good bachelor is hard to find, according to new research from a leading demographer.
From its founding as a British penal colony more than 200 years ago, Australia has traditionally suffered from a gender imbalance where men were more likely to be more numerous than the fairer sex Down Under.
But what was once an oversupply of testosterone began to move in the other direction in the 1990s, and single women in their thirties are beginning to wonder where all the men have gone, says study author Bernard Salt.
"In 1976 there were 54,000 more 30-something men than women on the Australian continent," he told AFP.
"That switched in the 1990s to the point that today there are 9,000 more 30-something women than men in Australia.
"You could argue that since the 1970s we've gone from a 'sheila shortage' to a man drought today," he said. (Sheila is a slang Australian term for a young woman).
Salt, who drew on official statistics and his own research to write 'Man Drought And Other Social Issues Of The New Century", said men were increasingly being drawn overseas as part of the internationalisation of the labour market.
"Our youngest, our brightest, our most ambitious, the slightly more male occupations are being attracted out of Australia," he said.
"It upsets the gender balance."
About five percent of the Australian population -- between 750,000 and one million people -- live overseas, with the most popular destinations being the United Kingdom, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong, Salt said.
"You tend to find that small outpost colonial cultures tend to tithe their best and brightest to a stronger economy," Salt said, adding that the trend was showing no signs of reversing.
"I can't see why that flow would kick back to the other direction," he said.
"I don't know that it's going to get to the point where the birth rate slows down. I think that it's enough to upset the gender balance, I don't think it's enough to depress the birth rate."
But it's not all bad news for Australian women. Salt's research found the "man drought" did not exist for women in their 20s who could be mistaken for thinking there were too many men, as they were sought by males of all ages.
"The reality is that women have more than enough candidates for their affections in their twenties," Salt said.
The tipping point comes at the age of 34 where Salt says women find themselves "on another planet".
"The man drought kicks in at 34 and then it just gets worse and worse every year thereafter to the point that by the time women hit their 80s there is in fact 70 percent more single women than single men."
Salt's says the solution for older women is to move out of the cities and into the remote, rural farming and mining communities where men are still in plentiful supply.
This aspect of the gender balance was highlighted recently by the mayor of the outback Queensland town of Mount Isa who urged unattractive females to move to the remote town to even up the sexes.
John Molony incited outrage last month when he suggested that "if there are five blokes to every girl, we should find out where there are beauty-disadvantaged women and ask them to proceed to Mount Isa."
"Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face," he said.
Salt said while in some small, outback communities men outnumbered women by more than 20 to one, for most women living in the major cities the problem of the man drought remained.
"I suppose the popular image of Australian males overseas, is the sort of the Russell Crowe type," Salt said. "The problem is there is only one Russell Crowe."
(英语点津 Helen 编辑）
man drought: a gender imbalance where women outnumber men, 男人荒
Down Under: (下面的) 是西方人对澳大利亚的昵称