How Many Men Are in the World?


The amount of men compared with women in the world is roughly the same. Men slightly take the lead on numbers with 102 men per 100 women.

More males are born each year and adult male numbers on a global scale are higher than adult females. Despite this, the life expectancy of males is lower than females. In adults aged 55 and over, the number of females outweighs the number of males.

The United Nations estimated the number of men in the world to be 3,776,294,273, as of April 2017, compared with 3,710,295,643 women.

Gender Populations Across the Globe

Gender ratios between men and women vary across the globe for numerous reasons. The three main reasons are as follows. Women generally have a longer life expectancy than men, so you would expect the female population to be higher based on this. However, there are more male births than female ones globally. Migration can affect the gender ratio in some countries. For example, in countries where male labor is dominant, the ratio of males to females may be higher as more males migrate there for work purposes.

In general, there tends to be more males than females in South and East Asia, particularly in China and India, possibly due to the uneven birth ratio there. In the Middle East, there’s also a higher number of males than females but this is more likely due to the influx of male migrants. In Eastern Europe, females outnumber males, possibly as a result of the large life expectancy gap between the two genders.

Male and Female Ratios at Birth

The male birth rate worldwide is naturally higher than females and studies have shown that female mortalities across the whole pregnancy term are higher.

In some countries, having a son is preferable to having a daughter. For example, in India, if a son is the first-born, the parents are unlikely to have more children. If, however, they have a daughter, they’ll keep having children until a son is born. Sex-selective abortion, based on the birth order of males and females, also affects the ratio of males to females at birth.

Gender Ratios in Childhood

Child mortality up to 5 years old is generally higher for boys than girls. Up to a year old, boys are more susceptible to birth complications, such as birth defects, preterm births, respiratory infections and heart problems. This is probably because they tend to be born prematurely compared with girls. Boys’ immune systems are also weaker so they’re more at risk from infectious diseases, such as tetanus and malaria. This is known as the ‘male disadvantage’ and still applies during adulthood.

Infanticide affects both genders but in countries where the preference to have a son is stronger and female mortality rates are higher, due to girls either being neglected, shown unequal treatment, or as a result of direct infanticide.

Gender Ratios in Adulthood

Without the issue of sex discrimination, it’s believed there should be over 130 million more women than there currently are. Selective abortion, infanticide and deaths in adulthood as a result of neglect during childhood are all considered to be contributing factors to this, a term coined as ‘missing women.

Consequences of an Uneven Gender Ratio

In countries where having sons is preferred over having daughters, such as North Africa and Asia, the ‘missing women’ figure is higher and the male-to-female ratio is higher. This leaves a lot of unmarried men, which has effects when they cannot have sons to continue their male lineage. This highly impacts the poorer men in these societies as the women tend to marry up. This, in turn, is said to lead to higher violence and crime rates because of their low socioeconomic standing.