Sex ratio at birth normalises slightly: study

Sex ratio at birth normalises slightly: study

Sex ratio at birth normalises slightly: study

For Mains

What is the current situation:

  • A new study by the Pew Research Center has pointed out that “son bias” is on the decline in India.
  • The average annual number of baby girls “missing” in the country fell from 480,000 (4.8 lakh) in 2010 to 410,000 (4.1 lakh) in 2019.
  • The term “missing” refers to how many more female births would have occurred during this time if there were no sex-selective abortions.

Socio-religious divide in sex ratio:

  • Among the major religions, the largest reduction in sex selection and sex selective abortion has happened to be amongst the groups that used to have the greatest gender imbalances, particularly among Sikhs.
  • In the 2001 census, Sikhs had a sex ratio at birth of 130 males per 100 females, far exceeding that year’s national average of 110.
  • By the 2011 census, the Sikh ratio had narrowed to 121 boys per 100 girls. It has currently reached around 110, about the same as the ratio of males to females at birth among Hindus (109).
  • Both Christians (105 boys to 100 girls) and Muslims (106 boys to 100 girls) have sex ratios close to the natural norm, and this is maintaining the status quo.

Abortion in India:

  • India legalised abortion in 1971, but sex selective abortions started increasing in the 1980s due to the introduction of ultrasound scan technology.
  • In the 1970s, India’s sex ratio was at par with the global average of 105-100, this widened to 108 boys per 100 girls in the early 1980s, reached 110 boys per 100 girls in the 1990s and finally reached 111 boys per 100 girls in India’s 2011 census.
  • The Pew Research Center report points out that between 2000 and 2019, nine crore female births went “missing” because of female-selective abortions.



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