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Men who list themselves in such publications are referred to as "mail-order husbands," although this is much less common.

The term "mail-order bride" is both criticized by owners (and customers) of international marriage agencies and used by them as an easily recognizable term.

This network of smaller international marriage agencies is often affiliated with web-based international dating sites that are able to market their services on a larger scale, in compliance with regulations such as the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act.

A mail-order bride is a woman who lists herself in catalogs and is selected by a man for marriage.

In nineteenth-century America, mail-order brides came from well-developed areas on the Eastern seaboard to marry men in Western frontier lands.

With 4,138,273 more women than men from the ages of 15 to 64, marriage opportunities are slim at home and worsened by the life expectancy difference between men (64.3 years) and women (73.17 years), as well as the fact that a large portion of successful males are emigrating out of Russia.

Those who marry foreign men tend to be better-educated than most women from their country or their husbands.

Very few women lived there at this time, so it was hard for these men to settle down and start a family.

They attempted to attract women living back East; the men wrote letters to churches and published personal advertisements in magazines and newspapers.

In the twentieth century, the trend was towards women living in developing countries seeking men in more developed nations.

In the twenty-first century, the trend is now based primarily on internet-based meeting places which do not per se qualify as mail-order bride services.

Mail-order brides work with "international marriage agencies".

An international marriage agency (also called an international introduction agency or international marriage broker) is a business that endeavors to introduce men and women of different countries for the purpose of marriage, dating, or correspondence.

Many women wanted to escape their present way of living, gain financial security and see what life on the frontier could offer them.