Monday, December 2, 2002

Overpopulation in India?

Well, maybe.

Unless you're looking for girls.

A fertile farming state just west of New Delhi, Haryana produces a smaller share of girls, relative to overall births, than almost anywhere else in India. The 2001 census found just 820 girls for every 1,000 boys among children under age 6, down from 879 in 1991. The lopsided sex ratio reflects the spread of modern medical technology, particularly ultrasound exams, which allow Indian couples to indulge a cultural preference for sons by using abortion to avoid having girls....

While Haryana is an extreme case, the trend is also visible at the national level, where the number of girls under 6 declined from 945 for every 1,000 boys in 1991 to 927 in 2001. Some of the sharpest declines have occurred in the most prosperous areas of the country -- including wealthy neighborhoods in New Delhi -- where couples have the wherewithal to practice sex-selective abortion and the pressure from their parents to produce sons is often acute.

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