Bring on the Men: Sweden Sees Male Surplus For First Time in Centuries

By Carli Velocci on at

Europe has what you may call a man problem.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, researchers have found a growing increase in the ratio of men versus women in many of these countries. A recent report published at says that Sweden specifically has seen a historic gender shift. Since record keeping began in 1749, the country’s population contains more men than women.

Sweden is experiencing a male surplus of around 12,000 men, which doesn’t seem like a lot when compared to a population of 10 million, but researchers expect there to be a growing gap between genders. The greatest surplus is seen in the 15-19 age group, where there are 108 boys for every 100 girls. Those numbers are expected to grow.

Needless to say, researchers have been taken completely by surprise. “We as researchers have not been on top of this,” said Francesco Billari, president of the European Association for Population Studies.

This is especially noteworthy in Europe, which historically has seen a greater population of women. A male imbalance is more commonly seen in Eastern countries where cultures favour sons and things such as the one-child policy have greatly impacted female populations.

Other countries that have been experiencing gender changes include Norway, which experienced a male surplus in 2011, Denmark, and Switzerland. Germany has seen a typically greater male population since the world wars.

As Europe’s population continues to see dramatic changes thanks to recent mass migrations (especially of unaccompanied minors) and changes to life expectancy, experts expect the surplus in Sweden to continue. This could therefore have a profound effect on coupling in the country. Women could have a larger selection to choose from when it comes to dating, but could also see more pressure from men who are looking for mates, according to Tomas Sobotka, of the Vienna Institute of Demography. []

Photo credit: David Keyton/AP images