Another email from Mr. Tropper providing more fun with numbers. This is apparently how actuaries spend their free time, when the rest of us are zoning out or eating cookies.
Here it goes:
“In theory – In order to solve the issue the average age gap only has to be reduced by about 30 days a year. ”
Meaning, we don’t want 20-year-olds marrying only other 20-year-olds. What we really need is that the average age gap reduce by about 30 days every year for a series of years.
“As the age gap goes down the rate the age gap has to be reduced goes down. So after say 10 years the reduction would have to be about 20 days. The goal in this theoretical world would be that after about 30 years men would marry women about 1 year younger than themselves (to account for the 1.05 sex ratio).”
That’s more fun-with-math stuff. If you don’t follow it, don’t worry.
“To understand why this is so we can imagine a world in which everyone is average – all boys marry when they are 23 and all girls marry when they are 20. Let us assume that due to the skewed ratio of girls to boys the relevant power decided that all boys must marry at 22 instead of 23. If such a thing where to happen there would be close to twice as many boys as girls dating in that year. That is because we would have all the 23 year old boys and all the 22 year old boys dating only one year of girls.”
The last two sentences are unclear, so let’s clarify them. In this perfect world, every man gets married at the age of 23 to a girl of 20. If you declare that now men must marry at 22, then the year’s 23-year-olds and the years 22-year-olds are in direct competition for the same set of 20-year-old women. This would reverse the crisis, but not be much fun.
“In order to solve the problem (in our theoretical world) the age boys marry would have to be reduced slowly, by about 30 days each year [for a number of years].”
To avoid the rush on women.
“Obviously we do not live in a world where things can be done like that however the underlying principal remains true. Even a very small change in the average age gap will have a relatively large effect on the ratio of boys to girls.
It is for this reason we believe the issue is a lot more solvable then it would appear.”
I then emailed the following questions and got the following responses:
But – and here’s a rather large but – there are places where math seems to break down in the face of reality, which is not perfect, average, or subject to no forces besides equations.
“Although there is no absolute age gap in the real world there is an average age gap, which should act pretty much the same as an absolute one. Granted there are other issues in the real world such as the uncertainty in the birth rate, gender ratio, and individual preferences, however these issues account for only a small part (maybe 2 or 3%) of the problem.”
There is such a thing as mathematical sophistry. Why would this theoretically perfect world be a model for our not-theoretically not-perfect one?
“The relevant point here is that the issue is solvable both in the short term and the long term. Since, in our opinion, a majority of the disparity between the numbers of girls and boys in shidduchim is due to the age gap issue, the theoretical principles that can be used to solve the problem should work in the real world as well.
It if important to note that the solution to the problem does not require drastic changes in dating patterns, an unlikely proposition. Even a small change in dating pattern will be enough to solve the problem for the next decade or so. Obviously we will want to continue working so that we do not have an issue in a decade from now either.”