Increasing masculinity at birth in India and sex selective abortion

Narayan Prasad Das, University of Baroda

The child (0-6) sex ratio (F/M) declined sharply, particularly during the last decade that in almost all the major states in India. This paper traces the antecedents that have caused this phenomenon of “missing females” and tries to understand the factors behind the increased manifestation of gender bias. The analysis of two rounds of NFHS, conducted during the last decade in the country, suggests that loss of female children may be attributed to sex selective abortion and a resultant more masculine sex ratio at birth, since other factors such as sex differential in mortality and the undercount of females are found to have a minimal effect. This phenomenon is typical of societies with a strong son preference, experiencing fertility transition, wherein the conflicting desires of limiting family size and simultaneously to have at least one son, put pressure on couples to resort to sex selective abortion.

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Presented in Poster Session 3