Pew research center released a new study explaining why there are more women than men in the countries of post-USSR, including Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. The gender map shows regions by their sex ratios, with the space occupied by the former Soviet Union painted dark blue.
Post-USSR demographics stand out in gender rankings
The unfavorable demographics is the major factor driving Russian and Ukrainian women to seek partners abroad. Coupled with the traditional attitude that “a woman’s happiness is in the family”, which means a lady must have a husband and kids in order to even consider herself content with her life, this is the reason why beautiful and intelligent women with college education (lawyers, engineers, accountants) are eager to meet foreign guys from countries of Europe, America, and Oceania.
The research by Pew emphasizes that “the former Soviet Union stands out from the rest of the world”, based on 2015 United Nations Data. “This region has been predominantly female since at least World War II,” the study says. At that time, the ratio of men to women was 76.6 to 100.
In the subsequent years it improved, however the current rations for 2015 are still strongly imbalanced with 86.8 men for 100 women in Russia today.
Other post USSR gender ratings by country:
- Ukraine (86.3)
- Belarus (86.8)
- Armenia (86.5)
- Latvia (84.8)
- Lithuania (85.3)
- Estonia (88)
To understand how different it is:
- The gender balance in the USA is nearly in an equilibrium, with 98.3 men for 100 women.
- Worldwide statistics are 101.8 men to 100 women.
In other words, there is even a stronger imbalance in the rest of the world, with many countries having more males than females. Basically, the majority of Asia, including 2 largest countries, China and India, have more men than women.
What sets Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet republics apart
The population of former Soviet republics is substantially older than general numbers world-wide. Women there also live significantly longer than males, as compared to the planet’s averages.
“Younger men in the former Soviet Union also have an unusually high mortality rate”, confirms the research. While the life expectancy of Russian females is 75.6 years, males will on average reach only the age of 64.2, demonstrating a staggering 11.4-year gap. The life expectancy gender gap is consistently high throughout the whole post-Soviet space, while it’s only 4.5-year difference in the world in general.
Demographer Murray Feshbach lists alcohol-related incidents as one of the major causes of early deaths in males, as well as suicides, and ill-health. He stated: “Average alcohol consumption per capita is double the rate the WHO [World Health Organization] considers dangerous to one’s health.” Three times more people die in Russia from heart-related deceases as compared to Europe or the USA.
The 2014 study by The Lancet medical journal confirms the general knowledge about high levels of alcohol abuse in Ukraine, Russia, and other post-USSR countries, and put it as the top killer of Russian males: “Russian adults have extraordinarily high rates of premature death. Retrospective enquiries to the families of about 50 000 deceased Russians had found excess vodka use among those dying from external causes (accident, suicide, violence).” “By west European standards, Russian adults, particularly men, have a very high risk of premature death, which has fluctuated sharply in recent decades. At 2005 mortality rates, for example, only 7% of UK men but 37% of Russian men would die before the age of 55 years.”
The attitude towards alcohol differs strongly among Russian men and women (2013):
- 52% of women believe alcohol to be a moral problem.
- Only 36% of men support this view.
Violent attitudes in a conflict, where a person is expected to fight rather than seek a peaceful resolution or apply to the law enforcement, are also contributing to early deaths in males, while females are not supposed to participate in hands-on settlements.
Paired with minds clouded by vodka, this view on bravery causes multiple tragedies for all involved.
Accidents due to reflex impairment are also to blame. For example, the rescue services of Belarus attribute high mortality levels in accidents on water causing drownings to alcohol abuse.
The problem is known to governments, which tried to solve it in the past unsuccessfully, such as during Perestroika in 1986, when supply of alcohol and hours of trade were severely limited.
The restrictions caused multiple deaths due to people opting for drinking technical spirits and other unsuitable substances, rather than going without.
It is not unusual for Russian and Ukrainian women to seek divorce due to husband’s substance abuse (while doing it because of his cheating would be looked at with a surprise). The gender ratios are the constant complaint of women in post-Soviet countries, because they feel pressured to do anything in order to attract and keep a mate.
For example, if a husband is unfaithful, most people would put the blame on the wife, because she possibly didn’t look after herself, or wasn’t satisfying him sexually, or maybe didn’t provide him with a comfortable home, which drove him to seek pleasures elsewhere.
This is what a female member of EM wrote in a comment about Ashley Madison’s scandal:
“I think not many men get married to cheat on their wives after the wedding, this means, the problems are mutual, and there is the wife’s fault in the fact that her husband is cheating in a some extent. Maybe, she doesn’t look after herself, or doesn’t give him attention, doesn’t have sex with him or is not enthusiastic enough, works too much etc. Or maybe the man travels a lot for work, and he requires sex, because the wife is not next to him.”
Please note that it is an opinion expressed by a female, and not a male. Russian men would possibly put 100% of the blame on the wife, and not just partially. The opinion that men are some kind of animals who are unable to control their sexual instincts is supported by Russian media and the mainstream culture. The women are portrayed as peacemakers and gentle carers who have to take in consideration men’s nature.