According to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, the ratio of men to women in Maryland is among the lowest in the nation, with fewer than 93 men for every 100 women here. Only the District of Columbia and Mississippi have more lopsided gender ratios. Looking for the best odds to find a man? Try Alaska, with its 103 men to every 100 women - some towns, with up to 120 men per 100 women, have even tried to recruit women to move there.
Maryland might be off-kilter, experts say, because its economy is more friendly to women, particularly the many government office jobs in Baltimore County and the Washington suburbs.
Others posit the theory that the numbers could be traced to the fact that African-American women typically outnumber African-American men and Maryland has one of the country's highest percentages of African-American residents. The disparity between the total number of men and women in the state has been noted for the past few years.
"This is more than a curiosity," said Martha Farnsworth Riche, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau and a fellow with Cornell University's Center for the Study of Economy and Society. "This is something policy-makers need to think about. This has a long-term effect on the economy, the education system."
Of course, what concerns many women is the so-called marriage market.
In Maryland, according to an analysis of the new census information, unmarried men slightly outnumber unmarried women in the 20-to-34 age bracket - prime marriage territory - but from 35 on, unmarried women outnumber unmarried men by a greater and greater margin until after age 65, when there are nearly four unmarried women for every unmarried man in Maryland.
"It definitely puts women at a disadvantage," said Jillian Straus, author of Unhooked Generation: The Truth About Why We're Still Single, published in February by Hyperion Books. "Unfortunately, if you're a woman, there's a lot more competition out there."
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