The number of boys being born in China is higher than the number of girls. By a long shot. It is a statistic complicated by and exacerbated by China’s single child policy and by sex selective abortion. According to the British Medical Journal the average ratio of male to female births can be as high as 146. Sadly sex selective abortion, banned by the government, apparently accounts for all of the excess males. And the statistics particularly skew against the girls in second and third order births – as parents strive to produce that son, pregnancies are terminated when they discover a girl is on the way. What does that mean in real number terms?
In 2005 males under the age of 20 exceeded females by 32 million with more than 1.1 million males born that year instead of girls. The tough question to answer must surely be “what does this mean in social terms?” Over the next fifteen years and beyond what is the impact going to be in a country with tens of millions of men who have diminishing prospects of finding a partner? Interestingly that question is not specifically asked that I can see. Rather, commentary, such as it is, simply observes that the imbalance in numbers suggest a threat to security? What does that mean I wonder? That females are likely to suffer undue rates of crime and physical abuse in the future? That national security is compromised as men cross borders to find women? Yet, 30 million men is roughly 3-4 percent of the population – are we all just sweating numbers we can never comprehend as we usually do when we stumble over these sorts of statistics in China? After all, 3% may well be offset or absorbed in some other way. Another question that is not asked concerns the immediate social impact on families who are under pressure from the one child policy. What are the consequences at the family level? Or at the community level? As girls are aborted simply to ensure legal and political compliance we have to assume some sort of family and community impact. That is a study I would be very interested in reading if someone has put their mind to it.
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