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India’s sex ratio at birth normalizes slightly

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Issues related to the development and management of the social sector relating to health, social sector schemes etc


Source: The Hindu

Directions: Remember the trend and some unique findings of the report.


Context: The latest study by Pew Research Center has pointed out that “son bias” is on a decline in India and the average annual number of “baby girls missing” in India fell from approx. 4.8 lakh in 2010 to 4.1 lakh in 2019.

      • Missing females: It refers to how many births would have occurred during the time if there were no female selective abortions.


Key Highlights of the report:

      • Sex ratio normalised slightly: From about 111 boys per 100 girls (India’s 2011 census) to about 109 (2015-16) and to 108 boys (latest NFHS survey 2019-21)
      • Missing females: The Pew Research Center report points out that between 2000-2019, nine crore female births went “missing” because of female-selective abortions.


Sex selection among Sikhs:

      • Highest among Sikhs: Sex selection was the highest for Sikhs.
      • Missing girls among Sikhs: The study points out that while the Sikhs make up less than 2% of the Indian population, they accounted for an estimated 5% of the nine crore baby girls who went “missing” in India between 2000 and 2019.


Sex Selection among Hindus:

      • Missing girls among Hindus: The share of “missing” girls among Hindus is also above their respective population share.
        • Hindus make up 80% of India’s population but accounted for an estimated 87% or approximately eight crores of the females “missing” due to sex-selective abortions.


Sex Selection among Muslims and Christians:

      • Normal: Both Christians (105 boys to 100 girls) and Muslims (106 boys to 100 girls) have sex ratios close to the natural norm, and this trend is holding.
      • Missing females: The share of female births “missing” among Muslims and Christians during this period is lower than each group’s share of the Indian population.
        • Among Muslims: Muslims, who make up about 14% of India’s population, accounted for 7%, or approximately 5.9 lakh, of the country’s “missing” girls.
        • Among Christians: Christians, who make up 2.3% of the population, have had an estimated 0.6%, or about 0.5 lakh, of the total number of sex-selective abortions.


Sex ratio at birth:

      • It is the number of females born per thousand males.
      • It is an important indicator to map the gender gap in a population.
      • The sex ratio report in India is published by the Registrar General of India.


Insta Links:

Sex ratio in India


Mains links:

Q. What are the continued challenges for women in India against time and space? (UPSC 2019)


Prelims links:

      • Sex ratio
      • Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994
      • Missing girls

With reference to sex Ratio, consider the following statements:

  1. It is the number of females born per hundred males.
  2. The Child Sex Ratio is defined as the number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0–6 years.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)


          • It is the number of females born per thousand males.
          • The Child Sex Ratio is defined as the number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0–6 years.