For the first time since records began, the number of men outweighs the number of women in Sweden and Norway, with Britain not far behind
It might come as some surprise to learn that in the balance of births, it hasn’t been a 50:50 ratio of little boys to little girls for quite a while. Since the 17th century, scientists have observed what is known as a ‘tilted sex ratio at birth’, with an imbalance observed slightly favouring the number of boys born. But as quickly as nature took control of the gender divide, nurture stuck its meddling nose in too, with history and society sending things in the opposite direction.
Take Russia, for instance. Following a brutal century of war, the (relatively) peaceful days of wine and roses of the 21st century have seen massive alcohol problems wreak havoc on the population dynamics, meaning that for every 100 women on the streets of Moscow today, there are only 86.8 men. A reluctance to bring up daughters in other countries, along with state sanctions on reproductive rights, have also left an indelible mark on the female populations of China and India, where there are 106.3 and 107.6 men for every 100 women respectively.
But that is why the population statistics coming out of Sweden are so surprising, given that for the first time ever since records began in 1749, the number of men has outpaced the number of women. The first male lead was noticed in March last year, with a statistically insignificant different of 215 men, but has now ballooned by a whopping 4,000% to more than 12,000. And it’s a trend that’s set to continue across Europe, with Norway having hit it five years ago and Britain due to by 2050.
There are two reasons why Sweden has seen such monumental gender skewering, with the first being the obvious one – the current conflicts in the Middle East and Northern Africa have seen thousands of refugees making their way to the refuge of the Nordic nations, with the AP reporting that as many as 35,000 unaccompanied male migrants under the age of 18 arrived in Sweden in the last 12 months. At the same time, the men born on Swedish soil are living longer, healthier lives than their male ancestors, avoiding war and disease like never before.
Social scientists are unclear about how the sudden sex tilt towards men will play out in Sweden. Some demographers who spoke to the AP expressed concern that the increase had the potential to turn the tide on Sweden’s liberal progressiveness, with the threat of turning the country “hypermasucline.” Others are quick to point out that pre-emptively worrying that a boys-will-be-boys fear mongering assumes that this masculinity will automatically result in aggression, assault, and male hierarchies.