Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Scent of Perfume in Biloxi

April 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Since I know first-hand the terrible things that young men are capable of when deprived of romantic companionship for too long, I fear for the future of India. The country’s gender ratio is skewing way too male these days, which means that tens of millions of 21-year-old men will one day find themselves coming up snake eyes in the game of love. Suffice to say that such men rarely replace that quest with more noble pursuits. A few may move to the state of Mizoram in the hopes of bettering their odds; many more will turn to anti-social and self-destructive activities to fill the holes in their souls.

Reading about India’s tilting gender ratio got me wondering about the long-term male-versus-female trends in the U.S. You probably already know that double-X chromosomes reign supreme on these shores, particularly along the Atlantic and in the Deep South. Yet a century ago, the exact opposite was true, largely due to the fact that first-generation immigrants (who were predominately male) made up such a large portion of the population. There were just a handful of states where women outnumbered men; in the Carolinas, it was probably due to the textile industry, while I’m going to guess that the demographics of Massachusetts and Rhode Island were deeply affected by the high mortality rates in their fishing industries.

I’m most struck now by the fact that Mississippi is the most female state in the U.S. I’ve yet to come across a convincing explanation for this, though I can venture three guesses: men move to wealthier states in search of work, much like immigrants from Mexico and Latin America who venture north; the state’s high murder rate affects men far more than women; and that heart disease, though a problem for both genders, takes a heavier toll on those of the less-gentle sex.

The question, then, is whether a state can prosper with its gender ratio so out-of-whack. Is there any public interest in attempting to recruit males, in particular, to move to Mississippi? If so, I foresee a government ad campaign patterned after that employed by Axe Body Spray.

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