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The New Zealand Man Drought Is a Thing

Looking at the numbers, New Zealand's "man drought" isn't a concern, it's a statistical reality.
Illustrations by Katie Parrish Gandrabur

Illustrations by Katie Parrish Gandrabur

If you're between 25 and 44, are into men, and live in New Zealand, you could be finding it harder to get a date. Young Kiwis are blaming immigration patterns for what's being called a nation-wide "man drought". In recent years almost 500,000 nationals have relocated to Aussie shores, and figures from the ​2013 Census​ show the number of men to go around is at an all-time low. And it's especially grim for those of prime marrying age. Men still living in New Zealand (at least the ones who like women) mustn't rejoice just yet, as evidence has shown they might not be what the remaining females are looking for.


In cities throughout the country, gender imbalances have reached a disparity of up to 10 percent in populations aged 25 t​o 45. Considering the population of the entire nation is well below five million, this shrinks the male dating pool significantly. For every 100 women looking to snag a New Zealand man aged between 25 and 49, on average, about nine will miss out. In areas like the Kapiti Coast and Kawerau, chances are even lower, with only 82 men for every 100 women. Neither of these figures take into account guys who are gay or otherwise undatable.

Despite this fact, women are remaining optimistic, and online dating sites are attracting more young members than ever before. Dating site confirms the trend, with the highest growth rate in members in the 20 to 35 age demographic. But while the Internet is this millennium's favourite way to meet a guy, Christchurch might be New Zealand's real answer to hooking up with a man.

The world's largest insurance claim and subsequent earthquake repairs have brought hoards of single men to the broken city. With thousands of home owners awaiting appraisals and insurance payouts from the nation's EQC (Earthquake Commission) many other home and business owners have begun to rebuild. This not only requires standard tradesmen from male-dominated areas like building, plumbing, and electrics, but also new deep-drilling trades that are needed to stabilise construction foundations. As thousands of men from Ireland and existing Kiwi tradesmen are relocating in droves for guaranteed higher paycheques, women there are hugely outnumbered.


Unfortunately though, these men are not the men Kiwi women are after. Callis​ter and co.'s research paper has found the man drought can further be subcategorised into an educational one. Women that stay in New Zealand, stay for two reasons: To pursue higher education and to find employment in a job market flush with jobs that are considered more attractive to females. This has created a population with a strong representation of highly educated women. Not surprisingly, many of these women want to partner with a guy who is similarly well educated. Unfortunately for young Kiwi women, the current patterns of education enrolments and completions are showing the educational man drought will continue for quite some time.

Despite some rare parts of the country dominated by men, the man drought has contributed to a generation of lonely young Kiwi women. A recent study found women under 30 to be the loneliest population in the​ nation, beating out the elderly for the first time ever. This depressing report attributed much of the blame to technology that causes false senses of social interaction. However, with undeniable statistics of gender imbalances nationwide, it's likely the lack of dateable guys is a major part of the reason.

While long-term effects of the man drought are unknown, many are guessing more educated women will be looking outside the country for partners. And if you do decide to stay in New Zealand, maybe don't expect your dream man to come with a PHD included.

Follow Caitlin on Twitter: ​@amongthenarciss

Illustrations by ​Katie Parrish Gandrabur