AMRITSAR, India, Fri Apr 15, 2011 ( – The 2011 census in India has revealed that the gender imbalance is at its highest level since records began being kept at the country’s independence in 1947.

The average gender ratio in the country declined to 914 girls aged six and under for every 1,000 boys.

India conducts a census every ten years. According to 1991 census, the age 0-6 sex ratio was 934 girls to 1,000 boys, which decline to 927 in the 2001 census.


Dr. Gursharan Singh Kainth, director of the Guru Arjan Dev Institute of Development Studies in Amritsar, remarked in an article in Eurasia Review: “A cultural preference for sons and the increasing availability of prenatal screening to determine a baby’s sex have helped contribute to a worsening in the ratio, which has been deteriorating rapidly even as the ratio for the population as a whole has improved.”

“More worrying,” Dr. Kainth pointed out, “places that used not to discriminate in favour of sons… have begun to do so. Economic success seems to spread son preference to places that were once more neutral.”

“Sex selection is now invading parts of the country that used not to practice it. Indeed, as the average family size drops in India, the preference for sons only intensifies. It is sons who inherit land, pass on the family name, financially provide for parents in old age and perform rituals for deceased parents.”

Some areas in the country, which Dr. Kainth described as the “Bermuda Triangle for girls” in India, register only 774 girls for every 1,000 boys born.

Dr. Kainth expressed deep concern over the “600,000 Indian girls [who] go missing every year.”

“The impact on Indian society is grim,” he said, explaining that the “missing girls” are usually aborted, shortly after the parents learn of their sex.

Despite India’s policy of prohibiting doctors from reporting the sex of a child to the parents before birth, and the fact that sex selective abortion based on ultrasound scans is illegal, Dr. Kainth reported, “there are numerous medics who recommend a place that would do it. They are ready to reveal a fetus’s sex for as little as 500 rupees.”

“A skewed sex ratio may instead be making the lot of women worse,” Dr. Kainth observed, who pointed out that “robbery, rape and bride trafficking” are associated with societies with “large groups of young single men.”

“Put bluntly, it’s a competition over scarce women. Women in India are sometimes permitted, even encouraged, to ‘marry up’ into a higher income bracket or caste, so richer men find it easier to get a bride. The poor are forced into a long or permanent bachelorhood; a status widely frowned upon in India, where marriage is deemed essential to becoming a full member of society. Poor bachelors are often victims of violent crime.

“The daughter deficit will create a society that is much less stable and much more volatile than it would be with a more balanced ratio,” Dr. Kainth warned.