Agnostic has an interesting post on female age preferences for men by country. The data are from the late eighties, so dust is a potential problem, especially in countries like China that have undergone major changes in the last couple of decades. Varying sample sizes also present a problem, as he discusses.
Nonetheless, suggestive correlations are still to be found, suggesting that real relationships are stronger than the data suggests--if a statistically significant correlation shines through rough approximations, better data will almost certainly reveal that relationship to be even stronger than it initially appears to be.
Those surveyed were asked how much younger or older than themselves they preferred their mates to be. The average age of the respondents varies by country, so Agnostic corrects for this by looking at the preferred age differences as a percentage of the age of the average respondent by country. I'm not sure that's helpful. Ceteris paribus, is a woman who at 20 prefered a man three years older than her likely to shift his preferred age advantage when she's 23? If not, then Agnostic's method decreases the preferred age difference percentage 2% (from 3/20=15% to 3/23=13%) for no reason, translating to a four or five spot change on the comparative rankings of the countries. Anyway, the inverse correlation between PPP and desired age difference among females is stronger if the absolute difference in years is used rather than the percentage method.
The inverse relationship between estimated average IQ* and desired age difference among females (.58, p-value of .0002) is also stronger if the absolute age difference is used (using the percentage method, it is .50, p-value=.002). The more intelligent the place, the more likely women are to want a mate nearer themselves in age. The extent that I see this pattern 'on the ground' mostly comes from girls in their teens and early twenties who are not in school dating men several years older than they are. It seems to be more of a working- and underclass behavior, but I don't have any domestic data to back that up.
This is, not surprisingly, similar to the relationship between wealth as measured in terms of purchasing power parity and desired age difference among females, as Agnostic shows. He attributes this to the greater presence of middle class values in developed countries, although the lack of emphasis put on chastity in the first world relative to less developed countries in Africa and Asia might complicate that presumption. It also strikes me as plausible that the Western cultural emphasis on egalitarianism plays some part in minimizing preferred age differences in Western Europe and the Anglosphere.
Other interesting tidbits from the Buss paper Agnostic founds his post upon:
- Of the 37 countries**, in every single one women put a greater emphasis on a potential partner being a "good financial prospect" than men did. European-descended women are moderate in their gold digging tendencies relative to Asian, South American, and African women.
- Conversely, in all 37 places men put more emphasis on "good looks" than women did. The playing field seems more even for men, who widely have the opportunity to overcome an uninspiring appearance by applying their minds and busting their tails (although that requires some genetic 'luck', too, like high intelligence, low time preference, high executive function, etc). Women's prospects are less malleable. It's little wonder homely women in their twenties and beyond seem so bitter. This replaces some of the natural disdain I have for them with empathy. I should make it a point to acknowledge that they're not invisible for moral reasons, even though they'll remain so for practical reasons.
- "Ambition and industriousness" moves Americans, both men and women, more than it does Europeans. Of the 23 majority-European groups, only Estonians had a higher net score (men and women combined, the higher the score the more important the traits in a potential partner) for the category than the US did.
- In most cases, men prize virginity more than women do. There are a few exceptions among the Euro-descended, but they are marginal, as the Euro-groups care much less about chastity in general (with the exception of Catholic Ireland) than do Asians and Africans.
* IQ scores for South African whites and blacks come from Philippe Rushton. Yugoslavia's average IQ comes from Richard Lynn's finding of 89 for Serbia. Jordan's average of 84 is used for the Palestinians. Israeli Jewish IQ is estimated to be 99, arrived at by assuming the 23.6% of the population that is non-Jewish (mostly Arab) averages 84 and plugging 99 for the Jewish population (74.6% of Israel's total) to fit with Lynn and Vanhanen's national estimate of 95. Hawaii's IQ of 94.4 comes from my NAEP-based state estimates. All others come from Lynn and Vanhanen's IQ and Global Inequality.
** Actually, the data come from only 33 countries, but 37 groups. Two groups each come from the US (the mainland and Hawaii), Canada (French and English), South Africa (whites and Zulus), and Israel (Jews and Palestinians).