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Men Outnumber Women, but Only on One Coast

There are more guys in large urban counties in the West, but it's vice versa in the East
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 25, 2023 2:00 AM CST
Men Outnumber Women, but Only on One Coast
Professional matchmaker Michal Naisteter speaks with attendees at a mixer in Philadelphia on Nov. 14.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Anyone who suspects there are more women than men where they live, or vice versa, will find fodder for their suspicions in new data from the US Census Bureau. Whether it refutes or confirms their suspicions likely depends on where they live.

  • Women outnumber men in the largest urban counties east of the Mississippi River, along the Eastern Seaboard, and in the Deep South, while the West skews male, according to data released last week from five-year estimates from the 2022 American Community Survey, the most comprehensive source of data on American life. Those numbers were also backed up by age and sex figures from the 2020 census released earlier this year, per the AP.

  • Among US counties with 500,000 residents or more, the areas where adult women outnumber adult men most noticeably were in Baltimore, New York, Atlanta, and Philly, as well as Birmingham, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee, where the ratios ranged in the mid-80s.
  • The biggest imbalances of men to women, with ratios above 103 for those age 18 and over, were recorded in the West, in counties that are home to Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Austin, as well as California counties that are home to San Francisco, San Jose, and Bakersfield, where agriculture and energy are two of the biggest industries.
  • At birth, the sex ratio in the US has historically been 105 men for every 100 women; the ratio inverts around age 30. Since the mortality rate is higher for men than it is for women in almost every age group—due to violence, drinking, smoking, job hazards, and suicide—that ratio decreases with age, until at age 90 or above there are typically about two women to every man. Compared to the previous decade, though, more men are now living into older age, according to the 2020 census.
  • Across the US in 2022, the most recent year that figures are available, there were 96.6 adult men for every 100 adult women.
  • The ratios vary by geography in part because of the presence of certain institutions and industries with gender imbalances. San Diego, for instance, has several male-dominated military bases. In Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, and San Jose, there are plentiful jobs in tech, a sector where men account for around three-quarters of the workforce. This is in contrast to areas with large numbers of colleges or universities, which typically have more women.

  • The sex ratio numbers don't reflect sexual preference, gender identity, or whether those surveyed are looking for partners. The figures also don't reflect intersex people, who, historically, have had relatively scant data collected on them. (Read the full story.)

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