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Estimation of the number of “missing girls” in China: 1900-2000

Quanbao Jiang, Xi'an Jiaotong University
Marcus W. Feldman, Stanford University
Xiaoyi Jin, Xi'an Jiaotong University

Excess female infant and child mortality and high sex ratio at birth have caused the unbalanced sex ratio among children in China. The analyses show that the missing girls phenomenon has existed in China throughout the 20th century and amounts to about 5 percent of the investigated cohort, with 8.57 percent in 1900-1949, 2.02 percent in 1950-1979, and 4.19 percent in 1980-2000. The phenomenon of missing girls takes place not only at the early stage of females’ lives but also later in their life course. War and famine have greatly intensified the missing girls phenomenon. Since the implementation of the population policy in late 1970s, the proportion of missing girls in the birth cohort of each year has progressively increased. The paper finally addresses the implications for China’s long-term social development and makes suggestions to reducing discrimination against women and consequently number of missing girls.

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Presented in Session 186: Demographic aspects of female discrimination: from conception through childhood