“I don’t sleep at night anymore,” said Elefant, a shadchan—or Jewish matchmaker—affiliated with the Ohr Naava: Women’s Torah Center in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn.“My own sister is thirty-seven, educated, accomplished, attractive, and single.And just as I predicted, lopsided gender ratios affect conservative religious communities in much the same way they affect secular ones.At first glance, the state of Utah—60 percent Mormon and home of the LDS church—looks like the wrong place to study what I like to call the man deficit.It’s total chaos.” For Orthodox Jewish women, as for Mormon ones, getting married and having children is more than a lifestyle choice.
Utah’s ratio of men to women across all age groups is the fifth highest in the nation.
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.
“Wow,” he said, “that sounds a lot like the Shidduch Crisis.” I had never heard of it, but the Shidduch Crisis turned out to be a marriage crisis among Orthodox Jews remarkably similar to the one afflicting Mormons.
Both of these socially conservative communities are suffering from marriage crises that are testing not only their faiths but social norms as well.