Sex ratios in India and the "prosperity effect"

Suddhasil Siddhanta, Kalyain College and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Satish Balaram Agnihotri

Perceptive scholars have repeatedly drawn policy makers’ attention to the pattern of masculine sex ratios in prosperous regions of India. However, direct evidence of the effect of prosperity on sex ratios has not been forthcoming. Such evidence is available nevertheless, through an unlikely source; the quinquennial surveys of household consumer expenditure from the NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation). These surveys provide data on the family composition by AMPCE (Average Monthly Per Capita Expenditure); a good surrogate for prosperity. Analysis of the data from the 43rd (1987-88), 50th (1993-94) and the 55th (1999-2000) round show a clear trend of masculine sex ratios among the prosperous groups in nearly all the states and an intensification of such trend with time. Why it may be so needs serious consideration.

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Presented in Poster Session 3