Sex Ratio Tipping towards Men: An Exhaustive Look at Swedish Demographics

Norway swung to a male surplus in 2011, four years before Sweden, while Denmark and Switzerland are nearing a sex ratio of 100

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Sweden. Image source: VOA
  • A National statistics agency, SCB showed 277 more men than women in 2015
  • European Union population statistics suggests women will remain in the majority in most European countries for decades to come
  • Despite a natural birth rate of about 105 boys born for every 100 girls, European women have historically outnumbered men because they live longer

The natural sex ratio at birth, as presented by World Health Organization, WHO, is 105 boys for every 100 girls. However, predominantly, in the West, women have always been more numerous than men because they live longer. Hence, it came as a surprise in Sweden, when, in March last year, the census highlighted the fact that there were 277 more men than women.

What’s more, the number has since then grown to a massive 12000, which is still not very big compared to 9.7 million, which is the current population of Sweden, but definitely perplexing. Many demographic analysts and population experts, like Tomas Johansson and Frencesco Billari, confess they were not expecting this event to occur so soon.

There is currently an excess of 12 million women in the European Union, which has a population of approximately 500 million as a whole. Eurostat spokeswoman Baiba Grandovska believes, however, that this gap between the number of men and women is likely to narrow in the coming years,  “mainly because of the decreasing gap in life expectancy.” This comes as a result of an overall change in the lifestyle of men as compared to their fathers.

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Increasing awareness of heart diseases, adverse effects of smoking and drinking and more sophisticated medical equipment has encouraged them to modify the way they live. Wealthier countries now offer safer desk jobs as compared to working in mines and the construction business.

In Sweden, particularly, the numbers are going a little crazy. There was an unusual increase in the sex ratio to 108 boys for every 100 girls born in the year of 2014. Beating that increase, the sex ratio is now an absurd 123 boys for every 100 girls among 16-17 year olds, which beats even the sex imbalance in China and India.

sex ratio

Valerie Hudson of Texas A&M University, who released these numbers, attributes this sudden rise in the sex ratio to the sudden wave of refugees, mostly adolescent boys, from Afghanistan, Syria and North Africa that have run away from their war-stricken homes to seek asylum in Sweden. BBC reports that Sweden has received more asylum applications than any other country in Europe -163,000 just last year.

The Scandinavian country also houses immigrant-friendly laws; any underage refugee receives stable housing and financial resources. News like this travels fast and many young men often lie about their age to avail of these services, a matter that has now become a pressing concern. The authorities are debating the application of age determination tests for better screening of underage individuals; however, this is still a sensitive topic in the Nordic country.

Adding to the appealing benefits of being an underage refugee in this country, they also enjoy the right to family reunification, through which the entire family can be brought to Sweden. Experts believe this right may work in favor of improving the sex ratio, as an invitation for the entire family into Sweden may mean that sisters and mothers arrive in Sweden, driving up the number of females.

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Security forces of Sweden fear that the country may not be prepared to adjust to the masculine nature of its society. There is an expected increase in the number of crime against women, somewhat following in the footsteps of India and China. Unsatisfied male bachelors, who may not find spouses in time, have a possibility of propagating harassment cases against women, and that is a scary prospect.

Annick Wibben, of the University of San Francisco dismisses this trail of thought, claiming that the concept of gender equality is so deeply embedded in the Swedish society, that it does not make sense to compare with Indian and Chinese populations. “The way in which masculinity works in different societies needs to be taken into account”, she said.

-by Saurabh Bodas

Saurabh is pursuing his engineering and is an intern at NewsGram. 

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Playing Video Games May Cause Poor Eating Habits in Young Males, Warn Researchers

Researchers link poor eating habits in male college students to playing video games

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Playing video games has been linked to less exercise and poorer eating habits in young males. Pixabay

Male college students who play video games tend to exercise less and have poorer eating habits compared to non-gamers, warn researchers.

Nearly 70 per cent of men included in the study reported playing at least some video games.

“It’s important to understand that video games are a risk factor for poor lifestyle habits that may contribute to poor health,” said study researcher Dustin Moore from the University of New Hampshire in the US.

For the findings, the research team used information collected from over 1,000 male college students aged between 18 and 24 at the University of New Hampshire as a part of the ongoing College Health and Nutrition Assessment Survey (CHANAS) study.

Students reported daily video game time in an online survey and provided diet information by recording the food they ate over two weekdays and one non-consecutive weekend day.
Physical activity was based on the average steps taken per day as tracked with a pedometer.

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40 per cent of college men play video games at least five hours per week, as reported by the survey. Pixabay

The survey revealed that just over 40 per cent of college men play video games at least five hours per week.

The researchers found that those who played video games consumed more saturated fat and sodium than non-users, which suggests they are eating more salty snacks.

Gamers also consumed fewer fruits and vegetables and engaged in less physical activity than non-users.

The researchers did not observe any differences in weight for those who gamed but note that the poor lifestyle habits observed could contribute to excess weight gain and chronic disease later in life.

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Gamers also consumed fewer fruits and vegetables as copared to non-users. Pixabay

“If the findings of our study are indicative of general population, increases in video game usage could translate to increases in overweight/obesity and chronic disease in the general population, which is already a big issue,” Moore said.

Also Read: Young Scientist Develops Panic Button to Tackle Domestic Violence

The researchers said that more studies are needed to better understand how various factors, such as video game advertisements or the gaming media used, contributed to the findings.

The findings could help colleges and universities to more effectively educate students who play video games about diet and exercise.

The study was scheduled to be presented at ‘NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE’, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) this week. (IANS)

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Young Women More Likely to Depend on Alcohol to Improve Mental Health: Researchers

The study also tells that young women are more affected by alcohol use than men

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A recent study tells that young women appear to be more affected by high alcohol use than me leading to less interest in academics. Pixabay

Female college students are more likely to depend on drinking alcohol to improve mental well-being, say, researchers, adding that the young women appear to be more affected by high alcohol use than men, which may lead to less interest in academics.

“Cognitive aptitudes of young women appear to be more affected than for men with high alcohol use,” said study lead author Lina Begdache, Assistant Professor at Binghamton University in the US.

“These behaviors are regulated by the limbic system of the brain. However, the cognitive functions for high drinking alcohol use among the young men and women were different,” Begdache added.

For the findings, published in the journal Trends in Neuroscience and Education, researchers sought to compare neurobehaviours and academic effort among college students with low alcohol use with those of high alcohol consumption and build conceptual models that represent the integration of the different variables.

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The study found that young men and women exhibit common behavioural responses to high alcohol. Pixabay

They sent an anonymous survey to assess college students’ alcohol use and frequency along with questions on sleep, academic performance and attitude toward learning. They compared gender responses and found that both young men and women exhibit common behavioural responses to high alcohol use such as abuse of other substances and risk-taking.

The findings showed that young women reported generally less interest in the academic work and performance than young men. The latter reported more risky behaviours, such as being arrested, from excessive drinking.

The study also found that young women are more likely to depend on alcohol to improve mental well-being, which is also concerning, as they may self-medicate through drinking. In both genders, the researchers reported an increase in impulsive behaviours, which are under the control of the limbic system (the oldest part of the brain, evolutionary speaking).

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The study also found that young women are more likely to depend on alcohol to improve mental well-being. Pixabay

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Another reason for the difference seen is the differential metabolism of alcohol. Women metabolise alcohol at a slower rate, therefore, they are more likely to feel the effect of alcohol. Consequently, their brain is more likely to accumulate a toxic metabolite, acetaldehyde, which may be altering brain chemistry further to add to the differential behaviours identified in this study.

“Academic performance and risky behaviours among college students may be linked to their drinking habits, so more education and awareness should be shared with college students,” said Begdache.

“These findings are also explained by the fact that women tend to have higher connectivity between cortices, while men have a large cortical volume in the areas on the limbic system that support impulsivity,” Begdache added. (IANS)

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Young Scientist Develops Panic Button to Tackle Domestic Violence

If a distressed woman presses the button then it would alert the police or people nearby about violence

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A panic button has been developed to tackle crime against women. Pixabay

By Vivek Tripathi

The panic button, devised by an electronics and communication engineer, is set to play an important role in tackling domestic violence. On being pressed, it would alert the police or people nearby about violence.

Developed by young scientist Anjali Srivastava, the device uses GPS (Global Positioning System) technology.

Anjali, who has made several such tools, told IANS one to five emergency panic buttons could be added to it. “It operates in a 100-metre range and is too tiny to be noticed. Its battery last nearly 8 months. Women can keep the button that costs Rs 2,500 anywhere in the house as per their convenience,” she said.

It also has an audio-recording option, which could later serve as evidence. It could be used by housewives and girls living in paying guest (PG) accommodations.

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The button uses GPS to track the location of the victim. Pixabay

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“This type of innovative devices helps prevent crime against women,” said Gorakhpur scientific officer Mahadev Pandey.

“Anjali has made many such devices in the past, including anti-rape jeans and shocking gloves. This device is very important for the safety of women. It will prove to be very effective, especially in the coronavirus time,” said Shyam Cherasia, research and development in-charge of Ashoka Institute of Technology and Management.

GPS, a radio navigation system, allows land, sea, and airborne users to determine their exact location, velocity, and time 24 hours a day, in all weather conditions, anywhere in the world. (IANS)