Gigantic imbalance among the sexes in China and India

Government policies + sex-selection abortions multiple impact of cultural preference for boys

By Dave Andrusko

When the first eight words of a story are “Nothing like this has happened in human history,” it gets your attention. The rest of Simon Denyer’s and Annie Gowen’s first paragraph in their Washington Post story tells you what and why:

A combination of cultural preferences, government decree and modern medical technology in the world’s two largest countries has created a gender imbalance on a continental scale. Men outnumber women by 70 million in China and India.

This staggering imbalance–”Too many men”— has cataclysmic consequences about which we have run dozens of stories.

Of course there has always been a “cultural preference” for boys in these cultures but the reason there are “too few women” is largely because of “government decree and modern medical technology”—forced abortion/one child policy in China and ultrasound technology in India allowing couples to know the sex of their unborn child. Given the cultural preference for boys, sex-selection abortion means the imbalance between boys and girls has assumed astronomical proportions.

Much of the Denyer and Gowen story is absolutely wrenching as they explore the “far-reaching” consequences “of having too many men, now coming of age”:

Beyond an epidemic of loneliness, the imbalance distorts labor markets, drives up savings rates in China and drives down consumption, artificially inflates certain property values, and parallels increases in violent crime, trafficking or prostitution in a growing number of locations.

The 70 million figure comes from nearly 34 million more males than females in China—“the equivalent of almost the entire population of California, or Poland, who will never find wives”—and 37 million more males than females in India which officials attribute “to the advent of sex-selective technology in the last 30 years, which is now banned but still in widespread practice.”

Their long story, with many helpful (if depressing graphics), explores in four sections “personal tales that show how the imbalance has affected” every phase of individual and communal life.

“Both nations are belatedly trying to come to grips with the policies that created this male-heavy generation,” Denyer and Gowen write. “And demographers say it will take decades for the ramifications of the bulge to fade away.”

It is a must read which can be accessed by clicking here.

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