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“You have no idea how big a problem this is,” said Tristen Ure Hunt, founder of the Mormon Matchmaker, a Salt Lake City dating agency.

Hunt, a 35-year-old who only recently got married herself, told me she has three times more single women than single men in her matchmaking database.

Shidduch is the Hebrew word for a marriage match, and Orthodox Jews (including the more assimilated Modern Orthodox) now refer to the excess supply of unmarried women in their communities as the Shidduch Crisis. Or maybe it’s the women who are holding out for the Mormon or Jewish George Clooney?

Mormon and Orthodox Jewish leaders alike fear that their respective marriage crises reflect some failure to instill proper values in young people. In fact, the root causes of both the Shidduch Crisis and the Mormon marriage crisis have little to do with culture or religion. The fact is that there are more marriage-age women than men both in the Orthodox Jewish community and in the Utah LDS church.

But lurking beneath the Census data is a demographic anomaly that makes Utah a textbook example of how shifting gender ratios alter behavior.

The LDS church actually has one of the most lopsided gender ratios of any religion in the United States.

She shared stories of devout Mormon women who wound up marrying outside the religion—officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—simply because they had no other options. ”—who gave up on finding a husband and decided to have children on their own.

Times have changed, and that is a good thing—especially the fading-away of cruel taboos that once stigmatized women who engaged in premarital sex or bore children out of wedlock. The values question assumes that sexual mores loosen naturally from conservative to liberal.“Today, if you look at the girls who graduated five years ago, there are probably thirty girls who are not yet married.Overall, there are thousands of unmarried girls in their late twenties.Heterosexual men are more likely to play the field, and heterosexual women must compete for men’s attention.Of course, tales of scarce men and sexual permissiveness in ancient Sparta won’t convince everyone, so I began to explore the demographics of modern religion.

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