Nestled in the the many pages of the Missouri Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 35th Annual Report for the 1912-1913 fiscal year is an entry that is quite fitting for Valentine’s Day. Under the headline “Women younger than men,” Interesting Marital Statistics is filled with data on the marital statuses of the the population of Missouri:
“Of the 3,293,335 inhabitants of Missouri, 1,687,813 are male and 1,605,522 female, which means that there are 105.1 male to every 100 of the other sex.
In scarcity women have the best of it from the cradle to the grave, the men outnumbering them at every age and social stage, there not being enough to go around if every male, regardless of age, took unto himself a wife. As the age of matrimony approaches, Missouri population statistics show, females become more scarce, until single males from 15 to 45 years and over finally outnumber the other sex 141 to each 100.
With the male population at 1,687,813, a total of 1,171,394 are from 15 to 45 years old and over, leaving 519,419 who are under 15 years. Of the males over 15 years, 56.9 per cent, or 665,938, are married; 37.2 per cent, or 435,219, single and on the available list; 56,518 whose wives have died; 7,020 who are divorced and 6,699 who, for some reason, would not give their marital condition.
Only 2,982 of Missouri’s army of 1,099,015 maids and matrons over 15 years old refused to give information covering their marital condition. Those married number 550,819, or 60.1 per cent of the female population considered here. The single ones count up 308,184, or 28 per cent; of divorces there are 8,558 and of widows, 118,472.”
Oh, the timeless tale of the “selection of a soul mate.”
Want to know more? Current data on marriage rates in Missouri can be found in the Vital Statistics reports of the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, available for download on their website. Historic editions of Missouri Vital Statistics from the 1960s to the 2000s are available from the University of Missouri’s Economic and Policy Analysis Research Center.