Demographic Dividend Divided

Readers of the CLAHRC WM News Blog will be familiar with the concept of the demographic dividend – the opportunity for economic growth when the dependency ratio improves as a result of falling birth rates and before it declines due to an increasing proportion of elderly people. Asian prosperity has been fueled, at least in part, by favourable dependency ratios. However, distorted sex ratios at birth from the usual 105:100 to about 116:100 (males to females) is now resulting in a mismatch in early adulthood and consequent declining marriage rates. This mismatch accumulates over decades and will lead to a 30% imbalance within a few decades – the mathematics were explicated in more detail in a recent article of the Economist.[1] The situation is further aggravated by the “flight from marriage” as more well-educated women delay or eschew the idea of committing themselves to one man. The social effects of all this are hard to foresee, but it is well known that single men are a restless lot, prone to violence and available for army conscription.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. The Economist. Bare branches, redundant males. The Economist. 18th April 2015.

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