In pretty much every society, men have outnumbered women in incarceration rates, war enlistment, and violent crimes. Based on this, one would think that a community with a surplus of males would be riddled with crime, violence, and broken homes. However, as shown in a recent study, the exact opposite is true — having fewer available women may actually push men away from a life of crime, and cause them to value their families more.

Societies where men outnumber women are associated with higher levels of marriage, relationship commitment, and paternal investment. In addition, men in these communities also show a higher preference for sexually committed, long-term relationships with a single partner. On the other hand, in communities with more females, males tend to behave stereotypically and engage in risky sexual behavior and show a preference for short-term relationships.

Overall, the research found that adults were more likely to be married if they lived in male-biased counties than if they lived in female-biased countries. In addition, rates of female-headed households and out-of-wedlock births were lower in male-biased communities.

"You get more unmarried men when there are fewer of them," Ryan Schacht, co-author of the study said in a recent statement. "Men may be less interested in committed relationships when they are relatively rare and partners are abundant. Men may be less interested in settling down with a single partner when there are multiple options available."

To gather this research, Schacht traveled to Guyana to study dynamics of family formation in eight small villages in the country's interior. Economic conditions in the region had spurred local sex-biased migration and shaped sex ratios in each village. Schacht then conducted interviews with more than 300 people in different sex-skewed villages and began to see certain patterns take shape.

"If you are the relatively rare sex, you can be more demanding of a potential partner,” said Schacht. “You can be choosier, and of the partner you choose, you can be more demanding of what you want in a relationship."

To help back this hypothesis, Schacht, along with study co-author Karen Kramer, reviewed other male-abundant societies throughout history and found that in these societies, not only was there no more violence but there were also higher rates of monogamy. The duo then looked at the U.S. census and once again found gender ratios had an effect on the percentage of marriages, the number of female-headed households, and out-of-wedlock births, further suggesting that more women in a society may not always be a good thing.

Source: Schacht R, Kramer KL. Patterns of Family Formation in Response to Sex Ratio Variation. PLOS One . 2016

Read More:

Battle Of The Sexes: Symptoms, Diseases, And Medical Conditions That Affect Men And Women Differently: Read Here

Battle Of The Sexes: Older US Women Live Longer Than Men, But Suffer Poorer Health: Read Here