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China's excess males, sex selective abortion, and one child policy: analysis of data from 2005 national intercensus survey.

Zhu WX, Lu L, Hesketh T - BMJ (2009)

Bottom Line: One particular variant of the one child policy, which allows a second child if the first is a girl, leads to the highest sex ratios.In 2005 males under the age of 20 exceeded females by more than 32 million in China, and more than 1.1 million excess births of boys occurred.China will see very high and steadily worsening sex ratios in the reproductive age group over the next two decades.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: College of Law, Political Science and Public Administration, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua, Zhejiang 310347, China.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: To elucidate current trends and geographical patterns in the sex ratio at birth and in the population aged under 20 in China and to determine the roles played by sex selective abortion and the one child policy.

Design: Analysis of household based cross sectional population survey done in November 2005.

Setting: All of China's 2861 counties. Population 1% of the total population, selected to be broadly representative of the total.

Main outcome measure: Sex ratio defined as males per 100 females.

Results: 4 764 512 people under the age of 20 were included. Overall sex ratios were high across all age groups and residency types, but they were highest in the 1-4 years age group, peaking at 126 (95% confidence interval 125 to 126) in rural areas. Six provinces had sex ratios of over 130 in the 1-4 age group. The sex ratio at birth was close to normal for first order births but rose steeply for second order births, especially in rural areas, where it reached 146 (143 to 149). Nine provinces had ratios of over 160 for second order births. The highest sex ratios were seen in provinces that allow rural inhabitants a second child if the first is a girl. Sex selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males. One particular variant of the one child policy, which allows a second child if the first is a girl, leads to the highest sex ratios.

Conclusions: In 2005 males under the age of 20 exceeded females by more than 32 million in China, and more than 1.1 million excess births of boys occurred. China will see very high and steadily worsening sex ratios in the reproductive age group over the next two decades. Enforcing the existing ban on sex selective abortion could lead to normalisation of the ratios.

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Fig 1 Sex ratio in 1-4 year age group: all China’s provinces
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fig1: Fig 1 Sex ratio in 1-4 year age group: all China’s provinces

Mentions: Table 1 shows the sex ratio by age group and type of residency. Sex ratios were consistently higher than normal across residency type and all age groups except for urban 15-19 year olds. Sex ratios peaked in the 1-4 age group; the highest was 126 (95% confidence interval 125 to 126) in rural areas. Table 2 shows the sex ratio by age group for all provinces. Only two provinces, Tibet and Xinjiang, had sex ratios within normal limits across the age range. Two provinces, Jiangxi and Henan, had ratios of over 140 in the 1-4 age group; four provinces—Anhui, Guangdong, Hunan, and Hainan—had ratios of over 130; and seven provinces had ratios between 120 and 129. The provinces with the highest sex ratios are clustered together in the central-southern region (fig 1). Notably, sex ratios were high into the teenage groups in Hainan and Guangxi. The excess of males increased from 5.1% (n=142 634) in the cohort born between 1986 and 1995 to 9.4% (n=184 970) in the cohort born between 1996 and 2005 across the whole country. A marked rise occurred in the percentage of excess males between the two cohorts in all provinces except Xinjiang.


China's excess males, sex selective abortion, and one child policy: analysis of data from 2005 national intercensus survey.

Zhu WX, Lu L, Hesketh T - BMJ (2009)

Fig 1 Sex ratio in 1-4 year age group: all China’s provinces
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2667570&req=5

fig1: Fig 1 Sex ratio in 1-4 year age group: all China’s provinces
Mentions: Table 1 shows the sex ratio by age group and type of residency. Sex ratios were consistently higher than normal across residency type and all age groups except for urban 15-19 year olds. Sex ratios peaked in the 1-4 age group; the highest was 126 (95% confidence interval 125 to 126) in rural areas. Table 2 shows the sex ratio by age group for all provinces. Only two provinces, Tibet and Xinjiang, had sex ratios within normal limits across the age range. Two provinces, Jiangxi and Henan, had ratios of over 140 in the 1-4 age group; four provinces—Anhui, Guangdong, Hunan, and Hainan—had ratios of over 130; and seven provinces had ratios between 120 and 129. The provinces with the highest sex ratios are clustered together in the central-southern region (fig 1). Notably, sex ratios were high into the teenage groups in Hainan and Guangxi. The excess of males increased from 5.1% (n=142 634) in the cohort born between 1986 and 1995 to 9.4% (n=184 970) in the cohort born between 1996 and 2005 across the whole country. A marked rise occurred in the percentage of excess males between the two cohorts in all provinces except Xinjiang.

Bottom Line: One particular variant of the one child policy, which allows a second child if the first is a girl, leads to the highest sex ratios.In 2005 males under the age of 20 exceeded females by more than 32 million in China, and more than 1.1 million excess births of boys occurred.China will see very high and steadily worsening sex ratios in the reproductive age group over the next two decades.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: College of Law, Political Science and Public Administration, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua, Zhejiang 310347, China.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: To elucidate current trends and geographical patterns in the sex ratio at birth and in the population aged under 20 in China and to determine the roles played by sex selective abortion and the one child policy.

Design: Analysis of household based cross sectional population survey done in November 2005.

Setting: All of China's 2861 counties. Population 1% of the total population, selected to be broadly representative of the total.

Main outcome measure: Sex ratio defined as males per 100 females.

Results: 4 764 512 people under the age of 20 were included. Overall sex ratios were high across all age groups and residency types, but they were highest in the 1-4 years age group, peaking at 126 (95% confidence interval 125 to 126) in rural areas. Six provinces had sex ratios of over 130 in the 1-4 age group. The sex ratio at birth was close to normal for first order births but rose steeply for second order births, especially in rural areas, where it reached 146 (143 to 149). Nine provinces had ratios of over 160 for second order births. The highest sex ratios were seen in provinces that allow rural inhabitants a second child if the first is a girl. Sex selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males. One particular variant of the one child policy, which allows a second child if the first is a girl, leads to the highest sex ratios.

Conclusions: In 2005 males under the age of 20 exceeded females by more than 32 million in China, and more than 1.1 million excess births of boys occurred. China will see very high and steadily worsening sex ratios in the reproductive age group over the next two decades. Enforcing the existing ban on sex selective abortion could lead to normalisation of the ratios.

Show MeSH