The Myth of the Man Deficit, a Refutation of John Birger’s “Date-onomics”

Much of social science consists of making theories of whether Event A causes Event B. It can be hard to prove, and hard to disprove, these causalities. But the first step any social scientist should make if he is going to claim that Event A causes Event B is to make sure Events A and B are actually occurring.

Jon Birger is the author of a book called “date-onomics.” Here’s the description of the book:

It’s not that he’s just not that into you—it’s that there aren’t enough of him. And the numbers prove it. Using a combination of demographics, statistics, game theory, and number-crunching, Date-onomics tells what every single, college-educated, heterosexual, looking-for-a-partner woman needs to know: The “man deficit” is real. It’s a fascinating, if sobering read, with two critical takeaways: One, it’s not you. Two, knowledge is power, so here’s what to do about it.

The shortage of college-educated men is not just a big-city phenomenon frustrating women in New York and L.A. Among young college grads, there are four eligible women for every three men nationwide. This unequal ratio explains not only why it’s so hard to find a date, but a host of social issues, from the college hookup culture to the reason Salt Lake City is becoming the breast implant capital of America. Then there’s the math that says that a woman’s good looks can keep men from approaching her—particularly if they feel the odds aren’t in their favor.

Fortunately, there are also solutions: what college to attend (any with strong sciences or math), where to hang out (in New York, try a fireman’s bar), where to live (Colorado, Seattle, “Man” Jose), and why never to shy away from giving an ultimatum.

This book is part of a meme predating it which blames “hook up culture” on the gender ratio. The number “57%” gets thrown around a lot, because 57% of college students are female. It’s a convenient explanation if you are a feminist or someone who wants to deflect blame from feminists. Emily Shire writes in the Daily Beast that:

(….)This conclusion that people should lay off of feminism as the culprit for hook-up culture is not the focus of Date-Onomics, but a rewarding one for anyone tired of hand-wringing about whether feminism “hurts” women.

Birger claims that:

The sexual revolution that so interested Guttenag and the hookup culture now running rampant in college and post college dating markets are both rooted in a statistical oversupply of women.

The problem with this claim is not even that the causality, the “man deficit” is the cause of declining sexual morality, is false, it’s that the “man deficit” does not exist. It’s a myth.

From the Census Bureau data on educational attainment in 2014 I did the simple calculation that among White 25-29 year olds women are 53.24% of the individuals who have a bachelors degree or higher. When people with associate degrees are included(they shouldn’t be) the figure is 53.84%, reflecting the higher concentration of women in those fields.(Among those who have only associate degrees women are 56.04%)

Why isn’t it 57%? The 57% number is not new, it was still 57% back when the 25-29 cohort was in high school. Several things need to be accounted for:

  1. Race. Among all 25-29 year old Americans, from that same census bureau data, 54.96% have a college degree or higher and 54.18% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  2. Time spent in college. Among 25-29 year old Americans who have masters, professional, or doctoral degrees 60.60% are women, among 30 to 34 year olds the percentage is 58.53%. If they take six rather than four years of college they will be counted in six rather than four years.
  3. Among the 30-34 year old group there are significantly more women: 56.12% of White 30-34 year olds who had a bachelor’s degree or higher were female. The 57% number, note, is not changing. This is due to women finishing their degrees later than men, plus higher death rates for men.

But the female percentage of young, single, college educated White people is not 53% or 56%. The reason is simple, in the dating “market” you have 20-50 year old men competing for 20-40 year old women. Women marry at younger ages than men and always have.

I couldn’t find data on age, race, gender, and education, but I found the next best thing: data on income. In 2011 the percentage of single Whites(“single” defined here as including the never married, divorced, or widowed, but not the separated) in the 25-29 age group is 42.56%, in the 30-34 age group it is 42.45%. But is it different for the educated classes? Using the Census Bureau’s 2011 data on marital status, gender, race, and income I created this graph(see the excel link for “White alone”):

percent female by age group and income among singles

Education is not the same thing as income, despite their higher rates of education, women still make less than men in all age groups. But there is a high degree of correlation; we can see that men in higher income brackets have it no better than do men in lower income brackets if their choices are restricted to women in their age and income group.

It’s true that poor people who do get married are more likely to marry when young, but poor people are still less likely to get married. Among men in the 15,000$ to 25,000$ group 29.2% of the 25-29 year olds and 41.6% of the 20-34 year olds are married. Among those in the 40,000$ to 75,000$ group the numbers are 44.6% and 64.1%.


The “man deficit” is simply a myth. If young White women desire to marry men their own age who have similar incomes they have plenty of choices. If they insist the men have the same “education” as they do they do they are probably around or below 50% for that group. They don’t face anywhere near the 4 to 3 ratio that Birger cites in his book. Only among women over age 35 is there a “man deficit.”

Men would never complain about a  “woman deficit.”(Which, for young Whites of all income levels, certainly exists.) If they are single they will tell you it’s because they just can’t stick to one woman! Or that they don’t want to be tied down by a wife. Or something else. We all know of a large number of male “losers” in all income levels but they pretend to be winners and the rest of the population, not wanting to be “jerks,” pretends to believe them. And in the very rare case when they do complain(pseudonymously on the internet) Leftists and cuckservatives will have no sympathy as White men are part of the Oppressor class.

The root cause of the so-called “man deficit” is the high standards of women. They exclude from consideration not only those who don’t graduate from college but lots of the men who do as well. Birger seems completely ignorant of this, telling women to go to colleges which have a “strong math or science program” or that women in New York City should “try a fireman’s bar!” It’s so stupid it’s almost funny. It’s as if he’s really telling women to lower their standards, but his female readership, not to mention Leftist ideologues, do not want to hear that.


Emily Shire, Why College-Educated Women Can’t Find Love, The Daily Beast, August 7 2015

Jon Birger, Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game, 2015, Page 168

Educational Attainment in the United States: 2012 – Detailed Tables, US Census Bureau

Mary Beth Marklein, College gender gap remains stable: 57% women, USA Today, January 26 2010

America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011, US Census Bureau

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One Response to The Myth of the Man Deficit, a Refutation of John Birger’s “Date-onomics”

  1. Matthieu says:

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