Jokes about a quarter-life crisis may be rooted in an all-too-real predicament for Canadian women facing a terrible truth: Much of the country is experiencing a male drought.
According to the 2006 census released yesterday, until we hit the grand old age of 25, there is one guy for every girl in most provinces and territories.
After that, though, the pickings become progressively more slim, and the gap is widening. In 2001, there were 96.1 men for every 100 Canadian women; that ratio has dropped to 95.9 men for every 100 women.
It will be another two months before Statistics Canada releases figures on the dispersal of wedding rings across the country, but women who would like a head start could do worse than heading to Alberta.
It's the only place in Canada where there are more men under the age of 60 than there are women.
But choose your destination wisely: While Alberta itself is packed full of men, the gender ratio in Calgary and Edmonton is fairly even.
Instead, it's in places like Brooks, Grand Prairie, Red Deer and Medicine Hat that the fabled male-majority becomes truth.
While almost all the statistical advantages in the mating game belong to men, not everything is going their way: Older women vastly outnumber their male counterparts because they outlive them.
For those who are in the market for a man older than 50, try Yukon, Nunavut or the Northwest Territories, where a slightly higher ratio of men to women aged 50 to 75 potentially make it an older single woman's paradise.
Indeed, it seems many men are lurking in the extremes. In the skiing town of Whistler, B.C., there are almost 20 per cent more men in the permanent population aged 20 to 74 - and that doesn't even start to consider the winter influx of adrenalin junkies.
All of this is no news for twentysomething singleton Jennifer Winsor, who has watched more and more young men leave her hometown of St. John's in search of Albertan cash and out-of-province adventure.
In fact, she's reminded of the exodus every time she hits the town with her girlfriends.
"It feels like if we go out, there's girls everywhere, and there's one guy for every four girls. They're laughing. They get to pick and choose," she says of the men in their midst.
"I would like to see more single men. If you can make that happen, that would be great," she adds.
But the drought isn't limited only to St. John's. In Toronto, women outnumber men in every demographic over 20.
In Quebec City, there are slightly more men than women in the under-40 age brackets. The pendulum then sways back to the national norm. By the time Quebeckers are 75, there are almost one-quarter more women than men in the province. Five years later, it's closer to double.
Montreal bucks the national trend in only one age group, with men outnumbering women in the 40-to-44 demographic.
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