"Wow! We sure didn't see this one coming," said Tomas Johansson, a population expert at SCB, the national statistics agency of Sweden. [Ed., please find a picture of Mr Johanson.] He was speaking to AP about the gender balance shift that caught his country by surprise.
Famous for their constant striving for "gender parity", the Swedes were dismayed to find that, for the first time since record-keeping began in 1749, the Land of the Meatball now has more men than women. Swedes don’t quite know what to make of this sudden male surplus, which is highly unusual in the West, where women historically have been in the majority in almost every country. But it may be a sign of things to come in Europe, where demographics are being transformed by changes in life expectancy and... wait for it... migration.
AP reports that the tipping point in Sweden happened in March of 2015, when population statistics showed 277 more men than women. In the year since, the gap has grown to more than 12,000. While that’s still small in a population of almost 10 million, it’s not unreasonable to suspect that Sweden will have a big male surplus in the future, predicted Mr Johansson.
The natural sex ratio -- the number of boy babies to girl babies (not counting those who will choose their gender later) -- is about 105:100 in Europe. However, European women have historically outnumbered men because they live longer. [No jokes, please, about why that might be. Ed.] AP's analysis of national and EU population statistics suggests women will remain in the majority in most European countries for decades to come. But the sex ratio is increasing, slowly in Europe as a whole and quickly in some northern and central European countries.
The SCB says Sweden’s demographic shift is mainly due to men catching up with women in terms of life expectancy. But there's another reason -- the arrival in recent years of tens of thousands of unaccompanied teenage boys from Afghanistan, Syria and North Africa. Sweden's biggest male surplus is in the 15-19 age group, where there are 108 boys for every 100 girls. That imbalance could grow to 115:100 this year when the impact of last year's record number of asylum-seekers — including more than 35,000 unaccompanied minors — is reflected in the population statistics.
Should Swedes be worried about this? Valerie Hudson, director of a wimmin's programme on peace and security at Texas A&M University, said her research has linked skewed sex ratios in China and India to more violence against women and higher crime levels. Of course the Swedes aren't the kind of people who abort baby girls or treat women as second-class citizens or go on rampages of sexual assault. That's the kind of behaviour you would rightly associate with [We regret that space limitations do not permit us to publish the conclusion of this post. Ed.]
Further reading: Speaking of demographic disaster, check out this story on The New Observer, about a "refugee" claimant in Denmark who has won the "right" to bring his three (3) wives and twenty (20) children with him.