Scientists have recently discovered that many mammals are able to effectively “choose” the sex of the offspring at conception. This is obviously not the case for the human species (unless you’re Kimye), yet male to female ratios are not always 1:1. Birth rates favor males; on average across the globe, 105 males are born to every 100 females. Maybe that’s Mother Nature leveling the playing field, since (excluding culturally specific factors like gendercide) males are more likely to die than females during every stage of life:  prematurely born babies are more likely to die if they’re male;  in adolescence, men are more likely to die fighting, in war, in accidents, or from suicide; middle aged men are more likely to suffer from fatal medical conditions like heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver. In short, females are way better at staying alive.

Although women “should” outnumber men due to these risks, increasingly devastating cultural aversions to women and girls in India and China have made men the majority. Due to socio-cultural preferences for boys and the fear of overpopulation, females are “disappearing” at alarming rates in these and many other developing countries. Femicide (the systematic killing of women) and gender-selective abortion has created the biggest gender gap in history. There are now 60 million more men than women in the world.

Quantifying the gender ratios of specific cities can be a bit problematic. First of all, censuses don’t necessarily account for the range and complexity of gender. And we recognize the inherent problems involved in categorizing entire populations of people into two polar categories - male and female - which doesn’t allow for more nuanced (and realistic) interpretations of gender. Beyond the challenges of categorization, there are many different ways to count gender ratios - male to female ratios of babies born, ratios of the total population, and ratios of certain age or age bracket. Despite this, here are the gender percentages and ratios in a selection of different cities around the globe:

How many women vs. men are there in cities around the world?. Image 1.

We chose nine cities across the globe from New Delhi to Helsinki to retrieve our data.










women to 1 man (2013)

In an effort to curb population growth, China enacted the the one-child policy in 1980 that made it illegal to have more than one child. Due to a (globally common) bias for sons, many Chinese couples aborted female fetuses or abandoned female babies so they could potentially have a boy as their only child. While birth gender ratios globally are 100:105 female to male, the current ratio in China is 100 to 118. Roughly 30 million more men than women will become adults and enter the mating market by 2020.


New Delhi








women to 1 man (2013)

Males outnumber females by 37 million in India. That’s more than the entire male population of the United Kingdom. Over the past century, gender-selective abortion, femicide, and dowry deaths have claimed more than 60 million girls and women. Despite a ban on pre-natal sex tests and gender-selective abortions, it is estimated that approximately half a million female fetuses are aborted every year. In some areas of India, the mortality rate for girls between the ages of birth and five years is 75% higher than the mortality rate for boys of the same age due to female infanticide. Because dowries are costly, daughters are often unwanted because they are too expensive, resulting in a nation wide socio-cultural preference for boys.










WOMEN TO 1 man (2014)

Though gender ratios in Rome are fairly standard, the Italian town of Seveso is a more unique case. A chemical explosion in the town in 1976 has sparked investigations into how exposure to chemicals can effect birth sex ratios. The highly toxic chemical dioxin contaminated thousand of people in the surrounding city due to the accident, and left some with the highest dioxin levels ever measured in humans. Researchers found that males exposed to the chemical were twice as likely to produce female than male offspring.










women to 1 man (2011)

It is common for there to be slightly more females in early adulthood living in urban areas, and slightly more males in early adulthood living in rural areas.





50.5% - 51.7%


49.5% - 48.3%


1.02 - 1.07

women to 1 man (2011)

Finland is a pioneer in gender equality. It was the first country in the world to give women both the right to vote and to run for election, in 1906.










women to 1 man (2014)

Lima has a fairly typical sex ratio for a big city, though it is unusually young. More than half the population is younger than 29 years of age.



Georgia, United States



Georgia, United States



women (macon)


men (macon)


women to 1 man


women (Columbus)


men (Columbus)


women to 1 man

A study compared spending habits of men in Columbus and Macon - two American cities very similar to one another in terms of economies, size, and location (they’re located within a hundred miles of one another.) The study showed that men living in a city dominated by women (like Macon) tended to spend less money and save more: “Sex ratio appears to influence behavior by increasing the intensity of same-sex competition for mates. Accordingly, a scarcity of women led people to expect men to spend more money during courtship, such as by paying more for engagement rings.”





90.2% - 90.7%

women (born in 2008)

9.8% - 9.3%

men (born in 2008)

9.2 - 9.7

women to 1 man (2008)

Researchers studied the sex ratios at birth after a short, 10-day war occurred in Slovenia in 1991. The scientists were interested in whether psychological stress caused by the war had any effect on pregnancies and sperm content. They found that births six to nine months after the war were significantly less male.


Additional sources: CNN, Wiki