Gender Imbalance in U.S. Counties: East Coast Women Predominance and Western Male Majority

by Ethan Kim
Gender Imbalance in U.S. Counties

Recent U.S. Census Bureau data has provided evidence that supports the notion of gender imbalance across different regions in the United States.

This data, derived from the 2022 American Community Survey 5-year estimates and reinforced by the 2020 census age and sex statistics, shows a distinct pattern: in the largest urban counties on the East Coast and in the Deep South, women outnumber men, whereas in the West, the situation is reversed.

While these findings are intriguing, they come with certain limitations in terms of broader conclusions. Nevertheless, individuals like 57-year-old Nancy Averbach, a widow for eight years residing in DeKalb County, Atlanta, attest to the challenges posed by these demographic disparities. In her county, the sex ratio is notably low at 87.1, indicating a higher number of women compared to men.

Averbach’s experience in seeking a partner aligns with these statistics. She notes the scarcity of single men sharing her values and the lack of suitable social groups for her age demographic. In her observations, events for singles tend to draw more women than men.

It’s important to note that these sex ratio figures do not account for sexual orientation, gender identity, or active partner-seeking status, and they largely exclude intersex individuals due to historically limited data collection.

Geographical variations in these ratios are influenced by the presence of certain gender-skewed institutions and industries. In the most populous Western counties, this is evident in places like San Diego with its male-dominated military bases, and tech-heavy cities like Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, and San Jose, where men constitute a significant majority in the technology sector.

Conversely, regions with a high concentration of colleges and universities often have a higher female population. Additionally, factors such as the impact of historic racism, including high incarceration rates and mortality disparities, have contributed to reduced male populations in certain communities, as explained by Karen Guzzo, director of the Carolina Population Center.

In counties with over 500,000 residents, the most significant female majority is seen in Baltimore, New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Birmingham, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee. Here, the ratios are predominantly in the mid-80s. In contrast, the West records higher male-to-female ratios, particularly in Colorado Springs, Austin, and various California counties with large agricultural and energy sectors.

The U.S. birth sex ratio typically favors males, but this trend reverses around age 30 due to higher male mortality rates. Interestingly, recent census data indicates an increase in the number of men living into older age compared to the previous decade.

Michal Naisteter, a professional matchmaker in Philadelphia, has observed these demographic trends in relation to the dating scene. She notes a tendency for single women to reside within city limits, while single men often commute from suburbs. Naisteter advises those seeking partners to broaden their geographical scope.

In areas with more men, earlier marriages are common, whereas women in female-majority regions often cohabit without marrying and, if they do marry, frequently choose partners with lower education or income levels.

For individuals like Averbach, however, settling is not an option. She remains content with her life in suburban Atlanta, independent of a partner.

Follow journalist Mike Schneider’s updates on X, previously known as Twitter: @MikeSchneiderAP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gender Imbalance in U.S. Counties

What does the new U.S. Census data reveal about gender imbalance in the U.S.?

The 2022 American Community Survey and 2020 census data show a clear pattern of gender imbalance across the United States. In major urban counties on the East Coast and in the Deep South, women outnumber men. Conversely, in the West, there is a male majority. This imbalance is influenced by factors like local industries, institutions, and historical trends.

How do the sex ratios vary geographically in the U.S.?

Sex ratios in the U.S. vary significantly by region. In populous counties on the East Coast and in the Deep South, such as in Baltimore, New York, Atlanta, and Philadelphia, there is a notable female majority. In contrast, Western counties, particularly in areas like Colorado Springs, Austin, and parts of California, have a higher male population. This variation is partly due to the presence of specific industries and institutions in these regions.

Are there any exceptions or limitations to the Census Bureau’s data on gender imbalance?

Yes, the Census Bureau’s data on gender imbalance has its limitations. It does not account for sexual orientation, gender identity, or whether individuals are actively seeking partners. Additionally, it largely excludes intersex individuals due to limited historical data collection. Hence, while the data provides a general overview, it does not capture the full complexity of gender demographics.

How does the gender imbalance affect the dating scene in these areas?

The gender imbalance has a noticeable impact on the dating scene. In areas with a female majority, such as certain East Coast cities, women face challenges in finding compatible male partners. Conversely, in male-dominated regions, trends like earlier marriage are observed. The imbalance also influences where single individuals choose to live, with single women tending to reside within city limits and single men commuting from suburbs.

What are the broader implications of the gender imbalance in these U.S. counties?

The gender imbalance in U.S. counties has broader implications for social dynamics and relationships. It affects marital trends, cohabitation practices, and partner selection criteria. In female-majority areas, women are more likely to live with a partner without marrying and, if married, often to partners with lower educational or income levels. This imbalance also reflects the influence of local industries, historical factors, and demographic shifts.

More about Gender Imbalance in U.S. Counties

  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • American Community Survey
  • 2020 Census Data
  • Gender Demographics in the United States
  • Population Studies and Gender Imbalance
  • Regional Demographic Trends in the U.S.
  • Impact of Industry on Gender Distribution
  • Societal Effects of Gender Imbalance

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Sarah T. December 16, 2023 - 2:28 pm

great read! It’s crazy to think about how industry and history can shape a city’s gender makeup. Really makes you think about the bigger picture.

Mike R. December 16, 2023 - 7:57 pm

This article is super informative, but I wonder, how accurate is the census data really? there’s gotta be more to it, right??

Dave L. December 17, 2023 - 2:04 am

didn’t expect to find this so fascinating, the part about the tech industry’s role in gender balance in cities like san francisco was a real eye-opener.

Jenny M. December 17, 2023 - 3:39 am

wow, never knew there was such a big difference in gender ratios across the US. interesting how it varies from east to west!

Linda K. December 17, 2023 - 3:51 am

I live in Atlanta and can totally relate to what Averbach said, it’s tough out here for single women. this article hits home, thanks for sharing.


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