Lure of construction work pulling men into the region

LAUREN MANN
Last updated 05:00 11/01/2014

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A nationwide "man drought" may have hit the country but it appears female Cantabrians in their 20s can take their pick.

Census 2013 figures show there are 2800 more men in Canterbury aged between 20 and 29 than their female counterparts.

In 2006, the gender of the same demographic was evenly spread, with only 264 more men than women in Canterbury.

The census area labelled Paparua, which includes Christchurch Men's Prison, had the highest discrepancy, with males making up 70 per cent of the population.

In the city, Riccarton South had the highest proportion of men, with 57 per cent, followed closely by Avon Loop with 56 per cent and Hagley Park with 54 per cent.

University of Canterbury associate professor of sociology Mike Grimshaw said the percentage growth could be attributed to the increase in construction around the city.

Similar examples of male population surges can be found throughout history, most notably in post-war Europe and colonial New Zealand, he said.

"Historically, the types of people involved in these kinds of population surges are often younger men, unattached and with a degree of disposable income."

Grimshaw said that more data would need to be examined to determine what the proportion shift would mean for Christchurch long term.

"It will affect everything, from housing to transport to local culture, and even dating behaviours.

"It is worth looking at the economical behaviour of that demographic, in particular, where they are spending their money."

Jamie Holmes, 28, who moved to Christchurch from Wellington late last year to work in construction, said he noticed the lack of women.

"You do notice less chicks around . . . especially out at the bars anyway," he said.

"It doesn't worry me too much at the moment. I'm here to work but I know it sometimes bothers the guys I work with."

FindSomeone manager Rick Davies said the dating website had seen a rise in male users from the region in the past two or three years, leading to one of the greater gender imbalances in the country.

"Certainly, ever since the reconstruction started in Canterbury we've seen numbers in terms of males increase," he said.

Davies suggested young men moving into the region for the rebuild would turn to online dating as a "natural avenue to meet singles". 

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- The Press

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