For women in Latvia, a country of 2.2 million people, dating may have to involve getting on a plane and fleeing. Latvian ladies—better educated, and with longer life expectancies than men—are facing a shortage of eligible partners.
Though more boys than girls are born in the Baltic nation, in adulthood the balance between the sexes tips the other way, resulting in Latvia having about 16 per cent more women than men. Men’s life expectancy stands at only 66, compared to 77 for Latvian women, and there are varied reasons for the grim male outlook. Higher rates of car and workplace accidents have been cited. Some experts even say that women seem to have weathered the shift from Soviet Communist rule to capitalism 20 years ago more successfully than men. A persistent “macho culture” places great pressure on men to succeed financially, difficult at a time when unemployment in Latvia is 22 per cent, and GDP dropped by eight per cent in 2009 because of the global economic collapse. As a result, men tend to take solace in the bottle instead of seeking professional help, and are four times more likely than women to commit suicide.