For First Time, Sweden Has More Men Than Women

Some worry this could set women's rights back if trend continues as expected
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2016 9:33 AM CDT
For First Time, Sweden Has More Men Than Women
More of these in Sweden than their female counterparts.   (Shutterstock)

Sweden is dealing with a surprise surplus of something it didn't quite expect: men. Per the AP, the Scandinavian country of 10 million now has more males than females for the first time since they started tracking such things in the mid-1700s, and this guy growth has been booming exponentially since early last year: In March 2015, there were nearly 300 more Swedish men than women, according to the SCB, the nation's stats agency, and that number has since stretched to 12,000. "This is a novel phenomenon for Europe," a University of Oxford scientist says, conceding, "We as researchers have not been on top of this." (The SCB had initially said in 2003 there wouldn't be a male surplus until 2050, then changed that date to 2040 in 2006—still a huge underestimate.) It's all based on what's known as the "sex ratio," which is the number of men per 100 women. There are actually more boys than girls born in Europe overall (105 to 100), but because women typically outlive their male counterparts, the sex ratio eventually tips to favor the ladies' numbers.

Other countries already have a more masculine demographic (e.g., Norway clocked more men than women in 2011) or are well on their way. What's interesting in Sweden's case is a global factor making an impact on the population: the tens of thousands of teen refugee boys fleeing Syria, Afghanistan, and North Africa to settle down in Norse country. Some are worried about this sudden shift and what a more male-dominated society may look like. "Are people thinking about whether this could undermine the gains that have been made by Swedish women over the last 150 years?" the director of a women's program at Texas A&M University says. Other educators disagree. "Hogwash," a politics professor at Australia's Monash University says, noting it matters more how each society ranks "hyper-masculine" gender traits such as aggression and male-dominated hierarchies—characteristics Sweden traditionally downplays in support of women's rights, the AP notes. (This woman recently became the "talk of Sweden.")

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