NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Chinese males under the age of 20 outnumbered females of that same age range by more than 32 million in 2005, due in large part to the government's one-child policy and its citizens' use of sex-selection abortion and even abandonment, according to a new study in the British Medical Journal.
The study of 4.7 million people under the age of 20 in China covered every county in the country. It also found that in 2005 there were 1.1 million more baby boys born than baby girls. The study was published April 9.
"Sex selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males," the study says.
Technically, China has a policy prohibiting sex-selective abortions, although the policy is largely ignored. China's government instituted its one-child policy in the late 1970s in an effort to slow the birth rate of the world's most populous country. Penalties for violations of the policy have included fines, arrests and the destruction of homes, as well as forced abortion and sterilization. Infanticide, especially of females, also has been reported.
China's culture has a strong preference for sons over daughters. Sons, according to tradition, are responsible for taking care of parents in old age and it is believed only sons can continue the family line. As a result, the one-child policy led to a sex imbalance. The program generally has limited couples in urban areas to one child and those in rural areas to two, if the first is a girl.
The male-to-female ratio for births in urban and rural areas is 119 to 100, the study said. But that ratio increases for second births in rural areas, where it is 146 males to 100 females, with nine provinces showing a ratio for second births of 160 to 100. (The normal ratio is about 105 to 100.)
"China will see very high and steadily worsening sex ratios in the reproductive age group over the next two decades," the paper said. "Enforcing the existing ban on sex selective abortion could lead to normalization of the ratios." Read More