If the sex-age structure of the population is equilibrated, observed marriage patterns are assumed to reflect preferred mate selections. With regard to age, these preferences can be expressed in terms of the probabilities of unmarried persons of given ages marrying persons of various ages. To study the situation of unequilibrated sexes, these probabilities can be used to compute, for each combination of ages of groom and bride, the expected number of grooms and the expected number of brides. If either of these numbers exceeds the other, the corresponding sex is in a “marriage squeeze.” The comparison among the expected number of grooms, that of brides, and the observed number of marriages supplies information on the effects of the squeeze.

In Australia, marriage statistics of 1949 were considered to reflect preferred selections. In 1958, men of most ages were in a squeeze. As a consequence, some relatively younger and older men did not get married, and some relatively younger and older women improved their chances of marriage in the year under consideration. 291–299

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