Imagine a society with 4 single young females for every 5 single young males.
Senegal is such a place.
Its marriage market is akin to a pyramid scheme, with older men taking younger wives, depriving lots of young men from marriage. This probably weakens the country by discouraging productivity in one’s most energetic years.
How Many Young Females Do Older
Polygamist Males Absorb in Senegal?
Steve Sailer posted in passing that 48% of rural Senegalese men over-40 had multiple wives. These numbers seem fantastic: Wouldn’t this imply that half of men are wifeless? It was then pointed out that this applied to over-40s only — Young females were the extra wives.
Using IDB data, I find this:
If 48% of males over 40 have an average of :
A — 1.25 extra young wives, that would take away 550,000 young females, or 21.6% of the nation’s supply of young-females. Leaving 347,000 young males single [14.8% of young males].
B — 1.50 extra young wives, that would take away 660,000 young females, or 25.9% of the nation’s supply of young-females. Leaving 457,000 young males single [19.5% of young males].
C — 2.00 extra young wives, that would take away 880,000 young females, or 34.5% of the nation’s supply of young-females. Leaving 677,000 young males single [28.8%].
Now, the CIA says 58% of the population in Senegal is rural; presumably the rate in cities is lower — However, the above also presumes that all males under 40 have a hard cap of 1.0 wives, which is impossible. These effects may cancel each other out.
This suggests that the actual number of “extra [young] wives” is between 1.25 and 1.5 (‘A’ and ‘B’ above) — If so, then as many as one-in-five young males in Senegal lack the opportunity to marry by this setup: There aren’t enough available females for them.
Interestingly, China has the same problem in the same proportion, I understand (Among the marriage-age, 5 males for every 4 females). In that case it is caused by sex-selective-abortion rather than polygamy.
Senegal’s Marriage Pyramid Scheme
Senegal’s polygamy is a kind of pyramid scheme. The only reason a majority of males are not deprived from marriage is because there are so many young females around. Half the population is still under 18.
Despite this lopsided age-structure, a large share of young men go wifeless even now, until they too get old enough to grab a younger wife. My analysis suggests 1-in-5 will have no access to any wife at all until they become middle-aged. (Indeed, Senegalese males’ average age at marriage is 29 vs. 20 for women).
Polygamy Devours Itself
As with all pyramids schemes, eventually some group of people loses. As Senegal’s age-structure gets older, the system will break down. (Does that sound familiar?). If the polygamy-rate stay as is, the already-high 20% wifeless rate for young males will get higher; male average marriage age will then push into the 30s.
Steve Sailer has pointed out this inherent flaw with polygamy. Absent some kind of rigid feudal system, it eventually devours itself, and will in Senegal too, as population evens out: A majority of young men in their most productive years, forcibly wifeless? Why would they work hard? What incentive is there? Why not relax and coast through life instead?