Ratios of men to women in the Gulf States

I read a recent book of statistics prepared by the Economist and found something rather startling. The six countries with the largest ratios of men to women are all in the Gulf States: UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

The ratios range from 117.5 men for every 100 women in Saudi Arabia to a shocking 189.7 men for every 100 women in the UAE.

I have never heard of any major incidents of infanticide of girls in any of those countries and I am unaware of any special ability Arabs have to produce only sons. Does anyone have any idea of how these countries could get such large male populations?

Does that include citizens and non-citizens too? Maybe all those extra guys are imported workers? Those guys could all have wives and kids back in the Phillipines or Thailand or Romania or wherever.

If those people are all citizens–and some of those countries have pretty strict definitions (just ask the Palestinians in Kuwait)–then it’s pretty strange.

Imported workers are indeed by far the main reason for these startling ratios. Apparently only something like 12 percent of UAE’s population are citizens. To quote Joseph McFalls’s article :

In datadubai you can see that the emirates with highest imported worker populations, Abu Dhabi followed by Dubai, also had the most skewed gender ratios. Of course, immigration isn’t necessarily the only reason for the low number of females. It’s possible that the Gulf states offer, for example, less health care for women, but even so, if no immigration existed these factors would only bring male-to-female ratios to around 105, maybe as high as 110, to 100, which are rather usual ratios in developing Asian countries that have a strong “men first” preference.

That is the answer. The importation of acres of unmarried, unaccompanied men (like me).

Still I have often wondered at the number of Saudi families I know that have few (if any) daughters. Sons are much preferred and I know of three families that are all out of whack on sex balance.

My sample size is way to small to make conclusions, but is large enough to make suspicions. When did ultrasound become available for sex selection?

There is counter-evidence. The problem of older unmarried Saudi women seems fairly intractable. They simply demand too much for their bride-price (sort of a reverse dowery) and so young Saudi men cannot afford to marry them.

This is very interesting, Paul in Saudi. In your opinion, is this deliberate in that the women need a fairly plausible excuse to stay single, or do these women expect that somewhere in Saudi, there’s a man willing to pay that amount for them? What sort of a life can a single, older Saudi woman live? Is it better or worse than a married Saudi woman? Thanks for your replies.

Thanks for clearing all that up. Since you are in Saudi, I had a quick question for you. I went to college with a Saudi kid who was a raging alcoholic. It was nice though since his dad paid for our boozing via the credit card bill. One thing he told me was that drinking was much more common among the locals than one would expect in the country. He claimed to have done it quite often, but certainly out of the glare of the religious police. Have you ever come across this sort of thing? Does that sound likely from your experience?

I regret to report to you on human nature.

Amongst us expats, we have a saying, "Whatever you are, Saudi Arabia makes it worse. " The drunks drink more. Exercise people are always in the gym. The womanizers step up their activities. Gays party every night.

I follow a more moderate course in my excesses, I spend much too much time in front of the computer and in the kitchen.

On the other hand, I have no idea about Saudis. We interact very little. I have been in a Saudi home once in the decade, I have never talked to a Saudi woman. My officemates are Saudis. One is total drunk. The others do not seem to notice nor condemn him for it. They also do not raise the subject of my private activities.

Those who make the booze for my area would never sell to a Saudi.

On the other hand, they are always on a lookout for part destinations for vacation. Ethiopia is gaining in popularity.

Gays party every night in Saudi Arabia…never would have seen that coming. Besides the fact that it seems “party every night” is what gays obviously want to do ( :dubious: ) it’s surprising that there are enough there to make this generalization, that so many gays would want to go to SA, and that SA would allow it.

PIS, perhaps if you could comment further or direct me to one of your many threads where you’ve discussed this previously…

Very woefully ironic if the Gulf States are practicing sex-selective abortion, as was also the rage in China and India in recent years. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) was used for sexing fetuses before ultrasound became available. Woefully ironic indeed because Islam originally fought against female infanticide.

wa-idhâ al-maw’ûdatu su’ilat / bi-ayyi dhanbin qutilat
“And when the baby girl buried alive is asked / for what sin was she slain”

Also ironic how gays are finding refuge from Saudi Arabia by going to Ethiopia to party… because when the first Muslims were persecuted by the Meccans, hundreds of them migrated to Ethiopia for refuge. Now the Saudis are re-enacting the role of the anti-Islam oppressors of Muslims.

I have opened a thread over on Mindless Pointless Stuff I Must Share on the subject of all things Saudi.