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More Babies Born when Fewer Men are Around, Study Says

Update Date: Feb 13, 2013 08:06 AM EST

When the number of men in a poor area goes down, women become less choosy and start giving birth to more children, according to a new study from Britain. Women belonging to more affluent classes react to shortage of men differently, like pursuing a degree or focusing on career.

The study, conducted by researchers from University of Portsmouth, found that women in poor areas react to scarcity of men by giving birth to more babies.

The data for the study came from Office of National Statistics that had information on some 2,500 urban neighborhoods in England, each with about 8,000 residents.

Researchers examined birth rates, deprivation and the male-to-female sex ratio in each neighborhood.

"If there are more women than men, studies have shown that women have lower expectations of men. We found poor women are more likely to rush to start their 'reproductive careers' while rich women are more likely to delay having children. We speculate that instead they begin to accumulate resources and education that will be of benefit to their future offspring," said lead author Abby Chipman, of the Department of Psychology.

The study found that women were more willing to have sex or get married early when there were fewer men in the locality. However, when men out-numbered women, demand for sex as well as marriage went down.

"The patterns we found suggest female-to-female competition is associated with poorer women adopting a 'live fast, die young' strategy," said Chipman.

The study is published in the journal Biology Letters.                               

A recent study reported in the media had pointed out that a dad's absence is a risk factor for premature births. 

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