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Life’s casual encounters November 18, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in America, economics, ideas, india.

Could the word “city” in Sex and the City refer to a 70,000 strong mid-western town ? Empirical social science research tells us something about where people live and why.


I have wondered why the sex ratios in American cities( and entire developed world I now hear ) are skewed towards more women compared to men. This paper offers a possible explanation that might atleast partially account for this trend.

Throughout the industrialized world, young women outnumber young men in urban areas. This paper proposes that such a pattern may be linked to higher male incomes in urban areas. The argument is that urban areas offer skilled workers better labor markets. Assuming that there are more skilled males than females, this alone would predict a surplus of males. However, the presence of males with high incomes may attract not only skilled females but also unskilled females. Thus, a surplus of women in urban areas may result from a combination of better labor and marriage markets. Swedish municipality data support the results.


The contents of this post and more importantly the comments section came as quite a stunner to me. It says young people move to cities in order to enjoy anonymous and casual sex. Read the comments section – yes, its a small sample indeed but its hard to dismiss a hypothesis that at first might seem rather preposterous. An interesting comment says :

Less people looking over your shoulder, too. In a subruban environment, you’re more likely to know your neighbors and thus get interogated about the strange car in your driveway. Or, instead of letting your guest slip out in the morning, you might have to give them a ride to their car.

On second thoughts, isnt the fundamental motivation similar in sense even in India. Ofcourse this article is about people relocating to cities and also we in India havent gotten to the stage where casual/anonymous sex is the primary factor, maybe its just being around and breathing the same air as ‘interesting’/’hot’ men and women in the same age group. Why afterall do college students hang out on a certain streets in cities ( say MG/Brigade in Bangalore ) and the same people once married are less likely to hang out there ! There are great cinemas and food joints all over the place ! Why do people go to certain pubs because of the quality of the crowd ? Certainly, they arent referring to the average IQ of the crowd as much as they are talking about good looking and/or open-minded party butterflies.

3) Somebody is actually going to write a book on this – Why people live where they do –

Tell me about the place you live. Why did you pick your city or region? How did you go about picking it – what was your strategy? What other kinds of places did you look at? How has that choice affected the rest of your life? Your job or career? Friends, family, or romantic interests? Fulfillment and fun? Real estate jackpots or money pits? Would you do it differently next time? What cities and regions are on your radar for the future and why?

Firstly, I am amazed at the range of books for which a market exits in this country. Secondly, in India what does where you live depend on ? In my opinion, its either economic reasons – jobs/career or where you grew up. There appears pretty much nothing else – partly because moving to another state for reasons other than economic reasons is pretty much like going to another country. Or maybe I am wrong.

4) Staying on the same topic – isnt this such a creative piece of work. Ofcourse, your moral leanings apart.



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