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Overall, there are thousands of unmarried girls in their late twenties.It’s total chaos.” For Orthodox Jewish women, as for Mormon ones, getting married and having children is more than a lifestyle choice.According to the ARIS study, there are now 150 Mormon women for every 100 Mormon men in the state of Utah—a 50 percent oversupply of women.

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Utah’s ratio of men to women across all age groups is the fifth highest in the nation.

But lurking beneath the Census data is a demographic anomaly that makes Utah a textbook example of how shifting gender ratios alter behavior.

Most marriages are loosely arranged—“guided” is probably a better word—by matchmakers such as Elefant.

The shadchan’s job has been made exceedingly difficult, she said, by a mysterious increase in the number of unmarried women within the Orthodox community.

Marriage and motherhood are essentially spiritual obligations, which is why the Orthodox marriage crisis is so hotly debated and why it has earned its own moniker.

Shidduch is the Hebrew word for a marriage match, and Orthodox Jews (including the more assimilated Modern Orthodox) now refer to the excess supply of unmarried women in their communities as the Shidduch Crisis. Or maybe it’s the women who are holding out for the Mormon or Jewish George Clooney?[Editor’s note: “Cynthia Bowman” is a pseudonym, as are other names denoted with an asterisk.Some biographical details have been altered to hide their identities.] Yes, she told me, the ratios are lopsided. “They wait for the next, more perfect woman,” grumbled Bowman, a veterinarian in San Diego. Times have changed, and that is a good thing—especially the fading-away of cruel taboos that once stigmatized women who engaged in premarital sex or bore children out of wedlock. The values question assumes that sexual mores loosen naturally from conservative to liberal.The dating game is rigged, but the problem is not strategic — it’s demographic. Multiple studies show that college-educated Americans are increasingly reluctant to marry those lacking a college degree. It’s not that He’s Just Not That Into You—it’s that There Just Aren’t Enough of Him.He asked what the book was about, and I wound up telling him about the Mormon marriage crisis.

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