- and why it’s dangerous
Migrants to Europe skew heavily male — and that’s dangerous.
By Valerie Hudson, Politico.eu
1/6/16, 12:54 PM CET
The recent surge of migration into Europe has been unprecedented in scope, with an estimated 1 million migrants (refugees) from the Middle East and North Africa this past year alone, making for a massive humanitarian crisis, as well as a political and moral dilemma for European governments. But one crucial dimension of this crisis has gone little-noticed: sex or, more technically, sex ratios.
It makes good sense that so many young men are leaving countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria: Their demographic is often at greater risk of being coerced into joining fighting groups, or being killed rather than captured by such groups. But the result is that 66.26 percent of adult migrants (refugees) registered through Italy and Greece over the past year were male, according to the International Organization of Migration.
To see how these overall figures affect specific countries — and why there is reason for concern — consider the case of Sweden, which has been especially transparent about its migration statistics and whose ratios mirror the broader trend in Europe in many respects.
Those numbers are a recipe for striking imbalances within Sweden. Consider that more than half of these unaccompanied minors entering Sweden are 16 or 17 years old, or at least claim to be. (There are no medical checks of age for Swedish asylum-seekers, and applicants who say they’re under 18 receive special consideration in the asylum process.) In this age group more than three-quarters are unaccompanied, meaning they are overwhelmingly male. According to calculations based on the Swedish government’s figures, a total of 18,615 males aged 16 and 17 entered Sweden over the course of the past year, compared with 2,555 females of the same age. Sure enough, when those figures are added to the existing counts of 16- and 17-year-old boys and girls in Sweden—103,299 and 96,524, respectively, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Database—you end up with a total of 121,914 males in Sweden aged 16 or 17 and 99,079 females of the same age. The resulting ratio is astonishing: These calculations suggest that as of the end of 2015, there were 123 16- and 17-year-old boys in Sweden for every 100 girls of that age.
Canada is the one country so far that seems to think this is cause for concern. Faced with similarly skewed sex ratios among asylum-seekers, the new liberal administration of Justin Trudeau announced in late November that, starting in 2016, it would accept only women, accompanied children and families from Syria. Specifically excluded would be unaccompanied minor males and single adult males (unless they are members of the LGBTQ community); those excluded will primarily be older teen and young adult men.
But fear of terrorism might not be the only reason to be leery of highly abnormal sex ratios among the young adult population. As my co-author Andrea Den Boer and I argued in our book, societies with extremely skewed sex ratios are more unstable even without jihadi ideologues in their midst. Numerous empirical studies have shown that sex ratios correlate significantly with violence and property crime—the higher the sex ratio, the worse the crime rate. Our research also found a link between sex ratios and the emergence of both violent criminal gangs and anti-government movements. It makes sense: When young adult males fail to make the transition to starting a household—particularly those young males who are already at risk for sociopathic behavior due to marginalization, a common concern among immigrants—their grievances are aggravated.
There are also clearly negative effects for women in male-dominated populations. Crimes such as rape and sexual harassment become more common in highly masculinized societies, and women’s ability to move about freely and without fear within society is curtailed. In addition, demand for prostitution soars; that would create a deeply ironic outcome for Sweden, which invented the path-breaking Swedish abolitionist approach to prostitution.
Europe is famously progressive on women’s rights, and some European governments have even created voluntary classes for migrants (refugees) to understand how the treatment of women may be profoundly different in their new homes.
But even with such efforts there is the potential for real regress when the young adult sex ratio is so high. And what is often invisible in the debates over migration is that the women left behind by this largely male exodus are usually left in dire situations: In displaced persons camps in Syria or refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and surrounding countries, female-headed households live in fear and penury, prey to exploitation and abuse.
Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallström rightly emphasizes her country’s “feminist foreign policy”—but can Sweden really consider its migration policy to be feminist?
While the humanitarian needs of the refugees streaming into Europe must be foremost in our minds at this time, policymakers in Sweden and other countries should also think of the long-term consequences of an unprecedented alteration in the young adult sex ratios of their societies. The Canadian approach should be carefully studied, and perhaps adapted by other countries. After all, if the sex ratios of the migrants’ countries of origins are balanced, is it not odd to accept predominantly male migrants for asylum?
As anthropologist Barbara Miller has persuasively argued, a normal sex ratio is a “public good” and therefore deserves state protection. For Sweden—or any other European country—to wind up with the worst young adult sex ratios in the world would be a tragedy for European men and women alike.
There are times when the male/female ratio is out of balance
Nature has a way of adjusting that naturally
Don't upset the Applecart
When there is an invasion like this and purposely out of balance
The way this will adjust will be through violent confrontations
Which is what the extremists are aiming for.