What Is the Gender Disparity among Chinese Newborns?

The gender disparity among Chinese children is about 119 boys per 100 girls. The rise has been sharp — in the 1980s there were about 108 boys for every 100 girls. As a reference, there are about 105 boys for 100 girls in the United States.

For further consideration:

  • There is concern that the disparity among Chinese children might lead to a marriage problem — at this rate, by 2020, there will be 30 to 40 million more males than females.
  • Some of the reason for the lopsidedness may be due to a rise in infanticide and abortion after the Chinese government adopted a one-child-per-family rule in the 1980s.
  • China has since relaxed the rule — most rural couples may have two children. Only families in larger cities are now subject to the one-child rule.
  • There are more than 1.3 billion people living in China — the largest population in the world.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current gender ratio among Chinese newborns?

As of recent data, the gender ratio among Chinese newborns has shown signs of improvement but still reflects a disparity. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the sex ratio at birth in 2020 was approximately 111.3 boys to every 100 girls. This is a decrease from previous years, indicating a gradual correction towards a more balanced ratio, but it still deviates from the natural expected ratio of around 105 boys to 100 girls. (Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China, http://www.stats.gov.cn/english/)

What are the historical reasons for the gender disparity among Chinese newborns?

The gender disparity among Chinese newborns historically stems from a combination of cultural preferences for male heirs, the one-child policy, and the availability of sex-selective practices. Traditionally, sons were favored for their potential to continue the family lineage and provide financial support. The one-child policy, implemented from 1979 to 2015, exacerbated this preference, leading to a skewed sex ratio as families opted for male children. (Source: United Nations Population Fund, https://www.unfpa.org/)

How has the end of the one-child policy affected the gender disparity?

The termination of the one-child policy in 2015, replaced by a two-child policy and later a three-child policy, has had a positive impact on the gender disparity among Chinese newborns. It has reduced the pressure on families to have a male heir as their only child. While the effects are gradual, the relaxation of birth limits is expected to further balance the gender ratio over time as families can have more children without legal restrictions. (Source: Xinhua News Agency, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/)

What measures has the Chinese government taken to address the gender imbalance?

The Chinese government has implemented several measures to address the gender imbalance. These include legal actions against sex-selective abortions, advocacy for gender equality, and the promotion of the value of female children. Additionally, the shift in family planning policies to allow more children is aimed at reducing the preference for male offspring. The government also encourages educational and economic opportunities for women to enhance their societal value. (Source: China Daily, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/)

Are there any long-term societal impacts of the gender disparity in China?

Long-term societal impacts of the gender disparity in China include a potential 'marriage squeeze,' where a surplus of men may find it difficult to find partners due to the shortage of women. This could lead to social instability and increased rates of bachelorhood. Additionally, the imbalance may contribute to issues such as human trafficking and forced marriages. Economically, a large gender gap can affect labor markets and caregiving for the elderly. (Source: The China Quarterly, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/china-quarterly)

More Info: Scientific American

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