Tracing the Ups and Downs Of the Male-Female Ratio

Men are still outnumbered by women in the U.S., but they strove manfully to catch up during the 1990s. According to a Census Bureau report, the male population grew by 13.9 percent during that decade, while the female population rose 12.5 percent. That’s because death rates declined more for men than for women, while immigration yielded more men than women. By 2000, the U.S. had a male-female ratio of 96.3—the number of men times 100 divided by the number of women. Men made up the most ground in the 75-84 age bracket, where the male-female ratio rose from 59.9 in 1990 to 65.2 in 2000. Alaska had the highest ratio, at 107, followed by Nevada (103.9), Colorado (101.4), Wyoming (101.2), Hawaii (101) and Utah (100.4). The ratios were lowest on the east side of the nation, in the District of Columbia (89), Rhode Island (92.5) and Massachusetts (93). Women outnumbered men in all counties in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Delaware. Men outnumbered women in all Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii counties. Among the country’s 10 biggest cities, men outnumbered women just in Phoenix, San Diego and Dallas. The cities showing the lowest male-female ratios: Philadelphia (86.8) and Detroit (89.1). In addition to the geographical skews are variations by age group. Up to age 24, the male-female ratios are about 105, since more boys than girls are born each year. It’s nearly even in the age 25-34 (101.8) and 35-44 cohorts (98.9), but then skews progressively more female with each step up in age. In the 85-and-over group, the male-female ratio stands at a woeful (for men) 40.7.