A study of the 2011 Indian census suggests that rising wealth and literacy rates are encouraging newly middle- and upper-class parents to abort their unborn daughters, as sons can be relied upon to inherit property and carry on the family name.

Normally, slightly more males are born than females, with a ratio of 105 boys to 100 girls. However, India’s 2011 census found a ratio of just 96 girls for every 105 boys, as well as about 7 million fewer girls than boys under the age of 6, up from a gap of about 6 million girls a decade ago. Worried officials have attempted to limit sex-selective abortions by making it illegal for couples to use ultrasound screenings or other technology to decide whether to abort a female fetus, but the effort has been largely unsuccessful. –ARK

The New York Times:

India’s increasing wealth and improving literacy are apparently contributing to a national crisis of “missing girls,” with the number of sex-selective abortions up sharply among more affluent, educated families during the past two decades, according to a new study.

The study found the problem of sex-selective abortions of girls has spread steadily across India after once being confined largely to a handful of conservative northern states. Researchers also found that women from higher-income, better-educated families were far more likely than poorer women to abort a girl, especially during a second pregnancy if the firstborn was a girl.

… The study, being published in the British medical journal The Lancet, is the latest evidence of India’s worsening imbalance in the ratio of boys to girls. The 2011 Indian census found 914 girls for every 1,000 boys among children 6 six or younger, the lowest ratio of girls since the country gained independence in 1947. The new study estimated that 4 million to 12 million selective abortions of girls have occurred in India in the past three decades.

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