Shortage of Girls in China Today

Judith Banister, Javelin Investments

China has the most severe shortage of girls compared to boys of any country, as documented by China's surveys and censuses through the 2000 census. This paper evaluates data on sex ratios in China since before the founding of the PRC, and shows that the shortage of girls has gotten more extreme during the last two decades, and the problem is real, not merely undercounting of girls. The author analyzes the several demographic processes that bring about China's dearth of girls, as well as the demographic outcomes of discrimination against female fetuses and children. The paper focuses on the "missing girl" situation in rural and urban areas, by birth order, and by province from 1982 to 2000, and compares China to other countries and regions. The author analyzes what is and is not causing these losses of daughters in China today, and explores how to prevent future shortages of females.

Presented in Session 166: Gender and Demographic Processes