The Impacts of Sex Ratios in the United States Marriage Markets

Bernardo L. Queiroz, University of California, Berkeley

Sex ratio, the ratio between males and females in a population, is a good indicator of the availability of mates and might play an important role when individuals are considering marriage. This paper uses the local marriage market sex ratios in the US metropolitan areas to study how the availability of possible mates affects decisions towards marriage and mate selection. The empirical results suggests that high sex ratios reduces the number of single females in a population, increases the number of single males and have a negative effect on the age differential between couples. Also, individual outcomes such as schooling and income level are much more related to individual and regional characteristics than to sex ratios. Sex ratios also appear to have little effect on the mating process, I observe that homogamy is predominant in the marriage markets despite the differences in availability of mates in a region.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Union Formation and Dissolution and Parents' Living Arrangements