Friday, July 10, 2015

Women's suffrage and the sex ratio

Would you believe that in the Census of 1870, there were more than 10 men for every woman in the state of Wyoming? Per a History Channel page, passage of women's suffrage in Wyoming in 1869 had in some part to do with the massively imbalanced sex ratio.  Here's a plot, data courtesy of IPUMS, of the sex ratios in the 47 states and the District of Columbia in 1870 (horizontal axis) vs. sex ratios in 1880. The red line is the 45-degree line.  By 1880, the sex ratio in Wyoming had fallen from above 10 to just over 2 males per female, lower than that in Montana and Arizona.
Over a decade, part of this could be attributable not only to in-migration of females (and/or out-migration of males!), but to presumably enhanced fertility in the state, which would tend to pull the sex ratio back toward 1.

From the perspective of family economics, enhanced female empowerment would be an outcome to expect when the sex ratio is so heavy imbalanced in favor of females. Suffrage is one dimension, and it would be interesting to compare others.