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More on "Unnatural Selection"

Good analysis of the new book in the WSJ. In many developing countries, especially where only one child is allowed per family, families are choosing boys, which can trigger fallout from the operational sex ratio:

Ms. Hvistendahl argues that such imbalances are portents of Very Bad Things to come. "Historically, societies in which men substantially outnumber women are not nice places to live," she writes. "Often they are unstable. Sometimes they are violent." As examples she notes that high sex ratios were at play as far back as the fourth century B.C. in Athens--a particularly bloody time in Greek history--and during China's Taiping Rebellion in the mid-19th century. (Both eras featured widespread female infanticide.) She also notes that the dearth of women along the frontier in the American West probably had a lot to do with its being wild. In 1870, for instance, the sex ratio west of the Mississippi was 125 to 100. In California it was 166 to 100. In Nevada it was 320. In western Kansas, it was 768.

In the U.S. we're experiencing a far milder spinoff of the operational sex ratio. Here, as a result of educational gender imbalances, we're seeing a shortage of equally educated males. Thus the 'marriageable mate' dilemma: Will women settle for a less educated spouse?

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