Evidence of economic deprivation and female foeticide in a United Nations global births by gender data set.

Abstract:

INTRODUCTION:The male-to-female ratio of live births is expressed as the ratio of male births divided by total births (M/F). Males are produced approximately 3% in excess. A large number of factors have been found to influence M/F. Stress and privation reduces M/F. Gender preference (which almost invariably favours males) with selective female foetal abortion increases M/F. This study was carried out in order to assess a United Nations data set for evidence of global trends in M/F in relation to broad socioeconomic conditions and male preference. METHODS:Data (M/F and total births, 1955-2009) was obtained from the United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Population Estimates and Projection Section. The following regions were analysed: more developed countries, less developed countries and least developed countries (as defined by the UN General Assembly). RESULTS:More developed countries: M/F was initially stable at 0.53 up to 1979 then fell to 0.525. Less developed countries: M/F was initially stable at 0.53 then rose after 1984 to 0.545 with a rise in male births and a fall in female births (estimated female birth deficit=48734993). Least developed countries: exhibited a stable M/F of 0.52 (all p<0.001). DISCUSSION:This study has confirmed, on a global scale, that least developed countries have the lowest M/F. The rise in M/F in developed countries (which includes Asia) confirms widespread selective female foeticide due to cultural male preference. The declining trend in M/F in developed countries has been previously noted and remains unexplained.

journal_name

Early Hum Dev

journal_title

Early human development

authors

Grech V

doi

10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2015.10.013

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2015-12-01 00:00:00

pages

855-8

issue

12

eissn

0378-3782

issn

1872-6232

pii

S0378-3782(15)00217-0

journal_volume

91

pub_type

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