Gender: Man drought of New Zealand

With a sex ration favourable to women since last few decades, New Zealand faces the problem contrasting to emerging nations including India and China where female foeticide is a major social evil

Data from the 2013 census showed that nationally New Zealand is well and truly in the midst of a “man drought” as there are only about 82 single men for every 100 single women in the country. All the more worrying is the figure that within the prime matting age of 25 and 49, there are only 91 men per 100 women.

While situation was just the opposite in 1800s and the early 20th century, things started changing in the 1980s due to an ageing society, and migration, both in and out of New Zealand.

So much so that 2011 population “estimates produced by Statistics New Zealand suggested there are around 50,000 more female than male residents aged 25-49, with the greatest imbalance in the prime relationship forming and childrearing age group of 30-44”, noted Callister & Associates in their paper titled - The New Zealand ‘man drought’ - released the same year.


The “man drought” of New Zealand has often been portrayed as affecting women’s chances of finding a partner of the opposite sex.

Education matters

Whereas the “educated man drought” is the shortage of well-educated males for well-educated females to partner with. This is advantageous for well-educated males as they have a greater choice of female partners, and are increasingly partnering with well-educated women.

Those least likely to be partnered are poorly educated females as well as poorly educated males.

Female-oriented employment

As New Zealand is having less and less males entering its labour market, the country is seeing a shift and growth in occupations, which tend to be female-oriented such as education and human resource management.

Behavioural changes

Though it may take some time, social scientists are predicting that “man drought” of New Zealand may lead to many women partnering more with younger men, as well as turning or even shifting overseas to find suitable mating partners. This in turn may lead to a decline in population here, which will have its own socio-economic effects.

Finally, as argued by Callister & Associates, Catherine Hakims theory of erotic capital may take root in New Zealand. “If women are facing more competition for partners it may be that they use such capital to attract partners. It is a theory that needs further research,” they concluded.