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NZ ‘Man Drought’ continues, but Australia’s has broken

New Zealand ‘Man Drought’ continues, but Australia’s has broken

A new study confirms that the New Zealand ‘Man Drought’ has not broken. In contrast, 2011 Australian census data show the male-female imbalance is now insignificant across the Tasman.

In New Zealand, newly released census data indicate that across the whole ‘usual resident’ New Zealand population there were 95 men for every 100 women in 2013. This is no change from 2006. By contrast, in Australia there were 98 males for every 100 females in 2011.

In their study Callister and Didham concentrate on the 25-49 age group. This is a period when most people form long term relationships and raise children. In New Zealand, in this age group there were only 91 males for every 100 females in 2013, down from 92 in 2006. By contrast, in 2011 the ratio in Australia was 97 males to every 100 females.

This research also challenges Dominion Post columnist Jane Bowron’s advice, that single women should move to Christchurch to ‘find a man’. While the rebuild has lifted the ratio of males to females in Canterbury, it is far from ‘raining’ men. In this region, there were only 96 males to every 100 females in the 25-49 age group. Even when just Christchurch is considered, and a narrower 25-34 age group is looked at, there were still only 101 males to every 100 females. In addition, not all of these will be single. Some reconstruction workers will already be partnered but will have left their partners in their home country or elsewhere in New Zealand.

The reasons for the on-going New Zealand ‘Man Drought’ are unclear. But, as in past years, it will be due to some complex mix of gendered migration both in and out of New Zealand, differences in mortality, as well as in the number of men and women who avoid filling in census forms.


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