When it comes to choosing a mate in the United States, men still have the upper hand — but not as much as they used to.

There are still more women than men in America, but the gap is shrinking. According to the latest Census report, there were 138.1 million men in 2000, a 14 percent increase from 1990. Women numbered 143.7 million, a 13 percent increase from 1990.

That works out to 96.3 men for every 100 women in 2000 — a big drop from 1980, when the male-female ratio was 94.5-to-100.

The rise in the number of men, a 14 percent increase from 1990, was attributed to immigration and falling death rates. Death rates for men are declining at a faster pace than for women, bureau analyst Renee Spraggins said.

Immigration has also brought more men into the country, Spraggins said. Historically, male immigrants tend to settle into a home and job first before the rest of the family arrives in the country.

In general, people are living longer thanks to healthier lifestyles and medical technology.

Demographers said the Hispanic population, which went up 58 percent during the decade to 35.3 million, increased at a faster-than-expected rate because of immigration.

The male-female ratio for Hispanics in 2000 was 105.9-to-100. By comparison, the ratio for Americans who chose only non-Hispanic white as their race was 95.7-to-100.

Other highlights: