The Latvian Man ShortageS

It's true. While Latvian women are healthier, better-educated and better-employed than their countrymen, a high male mortality rate means they also don't have enough of said countrymen to go around.

While men start out outnumbering women in Latvia, by 30 the balance has shifted dramatically. As one sociologist tells the BBC, "In this age group [30-40] the mortality for men is three times higher than the same age group for women....Car driving, alcoholism and accidents in the workplace are mainly riskier for men than for women." In addition to dying younger, Latvian men are four times more likely to commit suicide. A macho culture, in which men are encouraged to drink and discouraged from seeking professional help has, along with the switch to Capitalism and the economic crisis, proved disastrous in the past few years for a nation that already had the EU's highest suicide rate. 80% of these suicides are men. It's clearly a situation that needs to be addressed in an organized and large-scale fashion, especially as a sluggish Latvian economy shows all signs of several more years, at least, of widespread difficulty.

And obviously, for many of those who wish to connect romantically with a man, these numbers are problematic too. (To say nothing of the consequences for the population.) Not all women, however, mind the imbalance. Says Dace Ruksane, a sex columnist whom the BBC describes as "the Latvian Carrie Bradshaw,"

The smartest girls are alone. The really beautiful girls are alone - if they are smart...They want to find partners who are equal to them. But a man, having all this choice, doesn't need to be very perfect. He just sits in front of the TV and knows he can get a woman. And if she doesn't suit him, he will get another. Smart women simply don't want to have such men as their partners.

Writ large, it's a conversation one sees in cities like New York or San Francisco, where women outnumber available men and the romantic scene is regarded by many women as a brutal "buyer's market" that puts everything on men's terms. And perhaps the Latvian solution is instructive; independence or this, from one 29-year-old woman: "That's why all my friends have gone abroad and found boyfriends there."

Latvian Man Shortage Leaves Women Lost For Love
[BBC]