07/10/2008, 00.00
VIETNAM

Skewed birth ratios raise fears of social crisis in Vietnam

In the last few years baby boys have outnumbered baby girls. Foetal selection and the traditional preference for boys are causing profound transformations. In the future the sex ratio at birth might be 123 to 100 in favour of males.
Hanoi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Vietnam could experience a major social crisis as a result of a skewed birth rate. Traditionally and for historical reasons Vietnamese women have been more numerous than men but in the last few years this trend has been reversed causing dangerous changes whose consequences can now be seen in countries like China and India.

The General Statistics Office of Vietnam sounded the alarm bell in a recently released study that indicated that “in 2007 the male-to-female ratio at birth was 112 to 100,” up from 110 to 100 a year before and much higher than the average world sex ratio which stands at about 103-105 to 100. The study also showed that the skewed sex ratio is higher in some areas of the country, most notably in the north-west mountain regions.

One basic reason for this trend is the traditional preference for boys which has been aggravated by the possibility now available for sex selection.

Contraception and targeted pregnancies allow parents to have baby boys and abort the foetus if it is that of a baby girl.

If left unchecked this trend will create a dreadful future that is not far off with a sex ratio of 123 males per 100 females like in India or China (where the one child policy is in place) with selective foeticide or infanticide at birth practiced at the expense of females.

In about 15 years men are likely to find themselves without enough women for marriage and will be forced to look for wives abroad or remain unmarried. For women the danger is even greater because they might become victims of prostitution rings or human traffickers.

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