October 27, 2005
Dearth Of Suitable Males For University Educated Japanese Women

Social demographer James Raymo, at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Miho Iwasawa of the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research in Tokyo Japan have found that the willingness of better educated Japanese men to marry less educated women has left many more educated Japanese women single.

Highly educated women generally seek out equally educated spouses, says Raymo, but in Japan, husbands don't necessarily share a similar preference. Due to the extreme difficulty of tending to family and having a job simultaneously, Japanese wives are more likely than their American counterparts to stay home and financially depend on their husbands. Consequently, the researcher notes, Japanese men have less incentive to choose partners of the same educational background.

"Most highly educated Japanese women still want to marry, but can't do that as easily as they could in the past," says Raymo. "Women's increasing educational attainment, combined with lack of change in family roles, has created a potential 'marriage market mismatch' in Japan."

Raymo and co-author Miho Iwasawa of Tokyo's National Institute of Population and Social Security Research analyzed data from Japan's largest fertility and marriage survey, which has collected information on up to 10,000 married women and a similar number of unmarried men and women since 1952. The researchers' analysis revealed that approximately one-fourth of the decline in marriages among university-educated Japanese women can be explained by the dearth of available mates.

In a nutshell: smarter men are willing to marry relatively dumber women. This leaves a deficit of smarter men for the smarter women to marry. This problem is not unique to Japan by any means. Does the preference for equally well educated spouses run more strongly in some Western countries as compared to other Western countries?

Why does mismatch of male and female mating preferences happen? It is probably a consequence of Darwinian natural selection. Women tend to place a higher value on status in mates. Men tend to place a higher value in fertility signals (most notably youth). So a man can get a younger and sexier looking mate by sacrificing the status level he's willing to recruit from. But then that leaves quite a few smart women with a much less desirable field of men to choose among.

Where this phenomenon occurs one would also expect to see a lower rate of marriage among poorly educated and lower IQ men as compared to women of similar lower intellectual abilities. Where this phenomenon occurs such societies end up with lots of unmarried smarter women and dumber men.

Some years back I can remember when Lee Kuan Yew (former prime minister and current "senior minister" of Singapore) organized social events to bring smart men and smart women together at dances or dinners. He wanted the smart male engineers to marry the smart women who had majored in the humanities in college. I wonder if he had any success and whether these social get-togethers are still arranged by the government in Singapore.

Also see my previous posts "Men Prefer Subordinate Women For Long Term Relationships", "Humans Have Been Polygamous For Most Of History", and "Baby Boys Keep Marriages Together Better Than Baby Girls".

Share |      Randall Parker, 2005 October 27 01:26 PM  Trends Demographic


Comments
Invisible Scientist said at October 27, 2005 3:52 PM:

But how does this explain the fact that the IQ of the Japanese population is nearly 10 points higher than the white Europeans? Is this marriage mismatch between intelligent females and unintelligent males in Japan a new phenomenon. I suspect that both in the West and East, the situation is the same, and so all continents are losing intelligent genes. On the other hand, famines, wars, diseases, etc, used to eliminate especially the less intelligent people, as recently as a few centuries ago, but this time the latter elimination mechanism is missing.

Mthson said at October 27, 2005 4:16 PM:

Hereditary factors such as the East Asian population's large average brain size (which is correlated with IQ) may play a role in the high Japanese average IQ. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligence

Patrick said at October 27, 2005 10:47 PM:

Does this help explain why so many asian female university students end up with western men?

PacRim Jim said at October 27, 2005 10:47 PM:

Memorizing thousands of Chinese characters (kanji) must inculcate good study habits. Also, some of my American friends have university-educated Japanese wives and will attest to their loyalty and industriousness.

Patrick said at October 27, 2005 10:47 PM:

Does this help explain why so many asian female university students end up with western men?

Hugh Angell said at October 28, 2005 6:06 AM:

A possible solution that might have some interesting geopolitical effects would be for
Japanese women to marry Chinese/Indian men. The sex ratio in those two large nations
having been whacked out of kilter by, in China's case, the one child per family policy,
and in India by the dowry requirement and ultrasound.

Of course there aren't a whole lot of young Japanese anymore either so even if every
Japanese university girl were to marry a Chinese or Indian bachelor the supply would
soon run out.

Abortion whether for done as part of state policy, to avoid dowry payments or simply
because child raising is a nuisance is having unintended consequences around the world.
I have heard North Korean women are being recruited to relieve the shortage of females
in China but there aren't enough of them to make much difference so acute is the shortage
of females in China. 100 million more or less permanent bachelors in China and maybe an
equivalent number in India is a problem the world is going to have to deal with. Remember
that "B" science fiction movie "Mars Needs Women" where the Martians come to abduct Earth
women to satisfy their female shortage? Could a similiar situation develop in Asia?

Marvin said at October 28, 2005 7:19 AM:

This is the same problem that european educated women have been experiencing for decades now. The difference is that in europe and america educated women are indoctrinated with a "hate men" philosophy which helps them ignore the natural drive toward marriage and children until their biological clocks have run down and it is too late.

Japanese women of higher education probably lack that protective indoctrination of their western educated sisters. The solution may be for educated Japanese women to immigrate to western countries become the wives of educated western males. The problem with that solution is that in the west, men are being pushed to the side to make way for more women in higher education.

The truism that women marry up and men marry down is a fairly reliable guide. It is genetic as well as cultural.

Anthony said at October 28, 2005 9:01 AM:

Seems to me that the same thing is happening in Taiwan. Not scientific - but none of the well educated women that I know there (Doctors, business people etc) are married.

I wonder if you can relate this to the increasing popularity of dogs. Can't find a husband - well at least you can have a pet.....

Spiny Widgmo said at October 28, 2005 1:16 PM:

If the countries that have huge imbalances in males manage to avoid war, here are few predictions:
1) Porn will be legal and socially acceptable.
2) Prostitution will be legal. If medicine can control sexually transmitted diseases, then prostitution may even be a high status profession and glamorous.
3) Since there is a shortage of women to begin with, polygamy by high status males will be legalized or defacto accepted through mistresses or serial monogamy.
4) Social barriers to homosexuality will severely weaken.
5) Birth rates will crash faster then expected.
6) Traditional family structures will be weakened so that willing women will have multiple partners through serial monogamy.

Otherwise, societies will thin the herd of males using wars.

Fly said at October 28, 2005 1:24 PM:

Use a sperm bank and share a home and child rearing responsibilities with a compatible female in the same situation.

Bob Jenkins said at October 28, 2005 4:18 PM:

If intelligent men are paying attention to fertility signals rather than status signals, they may end up having more children, which may increase intelligence overall. Intelligent men marrying intelligent women then having no children is a worse solution than intelligent men marrying not-so-intelligent women and having children.

Rio said at October 29, 2005 3:20 AM:

Spiny Widgmo just described Japan already

blogger1227 said at October 31, 2005 12:41 AM:

I am writing from India. I have also lived in US for several years. There is no doubt that especially Indian men will migrate all over the world over the next 50 years in large #s (immigration policies permitting) and be more and more open to marry outside their nationality. Many "smart" women as described in the article will probably be open to evaluate men outside their nationality. The problem could be a bit more acute in case of Chinese men, as they are not as globally mobile as Indian men are. Japan and India have not even begun to explore the cultural synergies and vast other strengths they could add to each other. I really wish Japan opens up a bit more to India and Indians.

Interestingly, the smart unmarried women problem described here, does happen in India too, but I predict it will be far less severe in India as compared to developed countries. Indian women (especially those raised in India) are VERY flexible and will easily lower the standards for a life partners if they stay unmarried for long. Getting marreid is just too important from the standpoint of most Indian women.

inane said at November 6, 2005 2:26 PM:

Marvin,

Actually, it's not so much 'hate men' indoctrination that explains the reluctance and/or inability of educated women to marry as much as simple evolutionary psychology. Men are less capable of (or less willing to practice) monogamous fidelity and prefer short-term sexual encounters, which are typically readily available. In addition, there is not much societal stigma against bachelorhood. So I'm just saying, it's not like there are hordes of men out there just dying to settle down and breed but for the fact that hard-core feminist women don't want to marry them.

Also, while it's true that women have an innate tendency to seek status in their mates, the preference of men for a lower-status (read: submissive) wife outweighs women's tendency to seek higher status men. The University of Michigan study (posted on this website a couple months back) alluded to this: while women did not indicate a strong preference for a higher status mate, men had a most definite bias against higher status women.

So don't rest the "blame" solely with women.

Randall Parker said at November 6, 2005 4:01 PM:

Inane,

Of course women prefer high status men. Wealthy men can get beautiful women 20 or 30 years their junior. Powerful but bald and paunchy politicians can get young mistresses. You don't see older women with younger men anywhere near as much and when you do the women have had a lot of work done on them to spruce up their looks.

What women might say in a poll is one thing. What they do in practice is to strongly prefer higher status men if they can get them.

mukesh said at June 19, 2007 1:34 AM:

hey some one want to marry with indian guy from delhi??
i love japanese people..i know also japanese language..
i have also been japan & see japanese calture..
i love also japanese food..

bizz said at October 21, 2007 11:21 AM:

High status men can get beautiful women 20-30 years their junior. Yes as escorts. But they do not necessarily marry them. Women who have power also like younger men (ex. Liz Taylor). Lesbians also prefer younger women. However most people marry within the same age group even in less developed country (5 years age gap in the South 2 years age gap in the North).

Seems many people here do not know the real figures and fantasize a lot.

krao said at December 21, 2007 9:01 AM:

i hope INDIAN MEN DO NOT migrate in large numbers in the next 50 years, I hope all the indian men MIGRATE BACK to India. no need for so much hindu and islamic crap to be exported to other parts of the world and spoil it. + everyone knows how indian men behave.

Jenny said at September 27, 2009 2:38 PM:

Sounds to me as if Japanese men should consider marrying English women. There may appear to be paradoxes yet the balance would be better all round. The average Englishwomen is just that - average. If the Japanese man is above average academically yet feels driven by social trends to girly 'cuteness' he won't find too much of it with the English, yet maybe just enough for femininity. Also, the older Japanese men who are still unattached will find plenty of unattached English women who aren't so demanding of their wallets and attention. Makes sense really.

Jenny said at September 27, 2009 2:39 PM:

Sounds to me as if Japanese men should consider marrying English women. There may appear to be paradoxes yet the balance would be better all round. The average Englishwomen is just that - average. If the Japanese man is above average academically yet feels driven by social trends to girly 'cuteness' he won't find too much of it with the English, yet maybe just enough for femininity. Also, the older Japanese men who are still unattached will find plenty of unattached English women who aren't so demanding of their wallets and attention. Makes sense really.

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