I can imagine that after World War 2 the ratio of women versus men changed drastically.

During World War 2, Soviet casualties amounted to over 20,000,000, and as military casualties were almost all men I would think there were a lot more women in the Soviet Union than men.

Is there any recorded information on this subject? If not, is there any other country that has data available on this subject, e.g. Germany?

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    "military casualties were almost all men" - The Soviets were much more likely to have women in their ranks that the other powers and battle casualties were rarely limited to those in the military. So I'm not sure that the gap between male and female casualties was necessarily that great.
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 9:45
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    according to this wiki page Link the amount of woman in the sovient army was about 3% and they lainly served as medical staff, snipers and tank crew members? Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 10:29
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    If 20 million casualties were exclusively military, only men served in the Soviet military, and no one died from other causes during 1941-1945, then about 1 in five men would have been killed, considering the pre-war population at 200 million. That would put the post-war population at 100 million women and 80 million men, or a proportion of 1.25:1 - very far from 16:1. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 12:40
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    That would however be merely the maximum limit, as we know that the three premises above are false. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 12:41
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    According to wiki the 20 million figure is for both military and civilian deaths.
    – user15620
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:27

2 Answers 2


According to this article the ratio rose from 1.10 to about 1.54 (ratio of men/women fell from 0.91 to about 0.65) between 1941 and 1946 in the draft-age group (people born around 1887 to 1927), which was the most affected by the war losses.

Other age groups were less affected, so I'd say that the overall ratio would be around 1.3-1.25 (0.75-0.8 men/women).

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    Key takeaway for me is that the ratio was skewed for a certain age range and then slightly skewed for the overall population. If you started narrowing it by region (say, central Ukraine,) or further narrowing the age range, I bet you could get some crazy numbers.
    – Jeutnarg
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:02
  • @Jeutnarg it was commonly said that among the young men born in 1920s (1922-1925-ish) that got drafted, the losses (i.e., killed) approached 90%. I think the drafting age was 17, though I'm not sure. Maybe 18.
    – Genli Ai
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 1:30
  • @user20794 it was 18, but there are numerous accounts of teenagers lying about their age to join the army. Not enough to significantly skew the male-to-female ratio in their generation, though. Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 5:37

The Soviet population in 1941 was 196,716,000. In 1946, it was 170,548,000.[1] That's a difference of 26,168,000 people. According to a study published by the Russian Academy of Science[2], there were 12,300,000 births and 11,900,000 natural deaths during war, so the populational decrease must be entirely attributed to war deaths. Considering 400,000 births in excess of natural deaths, the war deaths must have been around 26,600,000, which is the number accepted by the Russian government. Of these casualties, 8,700,000 were military casualties[3].

The upper limit of the female/male proportion, so, would be the case that all 26,600,000 casualties were masculine. In such a case, the proportion would be, if we accept a prewar proportion of 1.05/1, given by the following:

A. Prewar population: Females 103,276,000 - males 93,440,000

B. Births: Females 6,150,000 - males 6,150,000

C. Natural deaths: Females - 6,100,000 - males 5,800,000

D. War deaths: Males - 26,600,000

E. Postwar population (A+B-C-D) - Females 103,326,000 - males 67,190,000

or around 1.54 female per male.

The lower limit, on the other hand, would be

A. Prewar population: Females 103,276,000 - males 93,440,000

B. Births: Females 6,150,000 - males 6,150,000

C. Natural deaths: Females - 6,100,000 - males 5,800,000

D. War civilian deaths: Females 9,200,000 - males - 8,700,000

E. War military deaths: Males 8,700,000

F. Postwar population (A+B-C-D-E) - Females 94,126,000 - males 76,390,000

or around 1.23 female per male.

The actual figures would be somewhere in the middle, as at least some subcategories of war civilian deaths (for instance, deaths of forced laborers) would be predominantly male, and not proportional to the sex ratio of the population.

[1] Data is from Wikipedia page on Demographics_of_the_Soviet_Union, where they are attributed to Andreev, E.M., et al., Naselenie Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1922-1991. Moscow, Nauka, 1993. ISBN 5-02-013479-1. Due to Wikipedia's basic unreliability, it would be necessary to check the source to see if the numbers match; unfortunately I don't read Russian.

[2] Again I am quoting from Wikipedia. The study is Andreev, EM; Darski, LE; Kharkova, TL (11 September 2002). "Population dynamics: consequences of regular and irregular changes". In Lutz, Wolfgang; Scherbov, Sergei; Volkov, Andrei. Demographic Trends and Patterns in the Soviet Union Before 1991 Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-85320-5. I couldn't find it online, so the same caveats apply, perhaps less sternly, as the source is in English.

[3]Wikipedia attributes this information to Krivosheev, G. F. (1997). Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century. Greenhill Books. ISBN 978-1-85367-280-4.

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    Note that USSR added a lot of populated land as a result of the war.
    – sds
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 18:27
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    @sds the land was added in 1939-1940, isn't it? the war for USSR started in 1941.
    – Genli Ai
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 1:32
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    @user20794 You are correct. The last pre-war census in USSR were in January 1939, before the lands were added, and it recorded 170 million people. It seems that the cited 196 million in 1941 figure accounts for population in acquired territories. Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 5:41
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    @sds you could be more generous with the info and not make me ask you for the specifics. :) you mean the Kaliningrad oblast and half (is it) of Sakhalin? Was there anything else? Some more islands? Wasn't East Prussia fully cleansed of its population though? Or do you mean their getting the seal of int'l approval for their 1939/40 gains in the West?
    – Genli Ai
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 1:22
  • 1
    @user20794 - No. The 1939 census gave a population of 168 million. The figure I worked with is 196 million for 1941; since clearly the population could not grow 28 million within two years, it seems to follow that the latter figure includes the population of Eastern Poland, Carelia, North Bukovina and Bessarabia. Such territory basically matches the 1941 borders, and where it does not (Kaliningrad, Sakhalin), the original population (and/or its additions by German or Japanese occupation) seems to have been thoroughly deportated - except for Carpathian Ruthenia. Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 2:11

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