Why there are not 86,000 men for 1.3 million women in Australia & why journalists can't be trusted with statistics


So I read the following paragraph in the Murdoch press today:

A church official told the Herald Sun newspaper there has been a massive decline in the number of available men, with statistics claiming there are just 86,000 Mr Rights for 1.3 million women aged between 25 and 34.



So that means that there a woman has only a 5% chance of landing a good man!  Oh my, what a problem!

The article then breaks it down for us, such that:

Demographer Bernard Salt has calculated that of the 1.343 million men in the same age bracket, only 86,000 single, heterosexual, well-off, young men were available after excluding those who were already married (485,000), in a de facto relationship (185,000), gay (7000), a single parent (12,000) or earning less than $60,000 a year.

So let’s think about that for a second.  Who are the 485,000 men married to?  Who are the 185,000 men in de-facto relationships with?   Well since they are not in the 7,000 gays, they are probably in relationships with women. That leaves only 630,000 women who are similarly available.

The 12,000 men who are single parents are also likely to have created that child with a woman and unless its one woman with 12,000 children to different fathers, one may assume that there are a similar, if not more women who are single parents.  So now we are down to 618,000 "eligible" women.

But wait, the article states that there are only 86,000 eligible men.  This seems to be because 568,000 men who are excluded from being "eligible" because they earn less than $60,000.

Aside from the fact that money shouldn't rule out love, this seems to be a rather high standard to be excluding men, especially when it excludes more than half a million otherwise eligible bachelors.  What are these men to do, are they doomed never to find love? 

How many "eligible" women would there be if we also applied the $60,000 cut off?

This number is hard to find, so we'll have to make some guesses.  According to the ABS, the average weekly earnings for a man 25-29 is $1,082 and 30-35 is $1,271 (so let’s split the difference and call that $61,100 per year).  For a woman, the average weekly earnings for a 25-29 year old is $904, and 30-35 year old is $923 which using the same technique works out at $47,502.


It is therefore fairly clear that fewer women are going to meet this wage criteria than men.

Therefore, rather than their being 15 woman for each "eligible" man, it seems fairly clear that there are in fact many more eligible men (using the ridiculous $60,000 criteria for what eligibility) than there are women.