Why Are There More Men In The World Than Women?

Table of Contents (click to expand)

Global demographics favor men due to factors like behavioral disparities, gender-selective practices, and entrenched gender inequalities.

When delving into the global demographic landscape, it quickly becomes clear that the distribution of males and females varies significantly across countries and age groups. Notably, as of 2022, there is only a slight predominance of men, accounting for 50.3% of the global population, as compared to 49.7% represented by women. However, projections indicate a gradual reversal of this trend, with females projected to outnumber males by 2050.

To comprehend the underlying reasons behind this gender disparity and to understand why there are more men than women in the world, it’s critical to examine a range of demographic, social, and cultural factors contributing to this phenomenon.

Recommended Video for you:

Historically, the global population has tilted slightly in favor of males, a pattern observed since the mid-1960s. Several demographic phenomena contribute to these shifts, including declining fertility rates and increased life expectancy.

Historically, there have been more men on the planet than women. (Credits: 593714/Pixabay)

Improvements in healthcare, sanitation, and access to medical services have led to increased life expectancy globally. Consequently, people are living longer lives, resulting in an aging population. As populations age, the median global age rises, indicating that a larger proportion of individuals are in older age groups. Within these older demographics, females tend to outnumber males.

Behavioral and genetic disparities play a significant role in the higher mortality rates among males, thereby contributing to their lower life expectancy compared to females. Across various cultures and societies, traditional gender roles often encourage risk-taking behaviors among men, leading to a higher likelihood of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Additionally, genetic factors may predispose men to certain health conditions or diseases, further impacting their mortality rates.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these existing disparities, with data consistently showing that men are more susceptible to severe outcomes from the virus than women.

Men were more susceptible to dying in the pandemic than women. (Credits: Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash)

Also Read: How Do Demographic Changes Affect An Economy?

Factors Contributing To The Gender Imbalance

Various factors contribute to the male bias in these sex ratios. Throughout history, gender imbalances have existed for various reasons. Traditional patriarchal societies often favored male offspring due to economic, social, and cultural reasons. Sons were seen as heirs, responsible for carrying on the family lineage and providing support in old age, while daughters were considered a liability due to dowry systems or limited economic opportunities.

One significant contributor is the phenomenon of more boys being born than girls, resulting in a higher sex ratio at birth. There may even be an evolutionary factor behind the imbalance between the number of males and females at birth.

For there to be a relatively equal number of males and females reaching adulthood, there must be a slight bias towards male births. This idea is rooted in the understanding of the different roles and risks, both biological and social, associated with each gender throughout human history.

More boys are born than girls. (Credits: Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash)

There is also the artificial enhancement of more boys being born than girls. This trend is particularly pronounced in countries like India and China, where cultural preferences for male offspring lead to sex-selective abortions and female infanticide. Advancements in technology, particularly in the field of prenatal sex determination, have facilitated sex-selective practices, leading to skewed sex ratios.

However, efforts to address these issues through government interventions and social campaigns have led to some progress in narrowing the gap. Nonetheless, the long-term effects of such practices continue to influence gender ratios in these regions.

Also Read: Is There Such A Thing As Male And Female Brains?

Gender Inequalities And How They Impact Sex Ratios

Gender inequalities significantly contribute to sex ratios due to disparities in health outcomes, exacerbating the existing imbalance in sex ratios. In many societies, girls and women face systematic discrimination and barriers to accessing healthcare, education, and other resources. These inequalities leave them more vulnerable to poor health outcomes, further widening the gap between males and females in terms of mortality rates and overall well-being.

In regions with entrenched gender inequalities, cultural norms and practices may also contribute to the neglect of female health needs. Gender-based violence, early marriage, and harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation further compromise the health and well-being of girls and women. These practices not only result in immediate health risks, but also have long-term consequences for women’s physical and mental health.

Women are oppressed structurally. (Credits: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock)


The global disparity in gender ratios is a multifaceted phenomenon shaped by demographic, social, and cultural factors. While males have historically outnumbered females, changing demographic trends and societal shifts are expected to lead to greater gender parity in the future.

Keeping track of these underlying causes of gender imbalance is crucial for addressing issues like gender-based discrimination, healthcare disparities, and population aging. The political and legal environment can either perpetuate or mitigate gender imbalances. Laws and policies that promote gender equality, such as access to education, reproductive rights, and employment opportunities, are crucial in addressing structural inequalities.

With greater strides towards equality and changes in populations, the global population of women might exceed men by 2050. (Credits: Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay)

However, in many cases, legal frameworks may be inadequate or poorly enforced, allowing discriminatory practices to persist. Political representation is therefore another critical catalyst, as the underrepresentation of women in decision-making positions can hinder efforts to address gender disparities effectively.

As the world progresses towards greater gender equality, efforts to promote social justice and empower women will play a pivotal role in shaping future demographic landscapes.

References (click to expand)
  1. Waldron, I., & Johnston, S. (1976, June). Why do Women Live Longer than Men?. Journal of Human Stress. Informa UK Limited.
  2. Why women live longer than men: Sex differences in ....
  3. World Population Prospects 2022.
About the Author

Shreya Sethi is currently a law student at National Academy of Legal Studies & Research (NALSAR) University, Hyderabad. She likes to believe that she was born with a book in her hand and that she has subsequently only replaced it occasionally to suit her reading list. She also enjoys a good cup of tea as she watches a better sunset. She is passionate about history, arguably, the greatest story ever told

   -   Contact Us