A Chinese census reports ratios as high as 120-136 boys born for every 100 girls; in Taiwan, ratios of 119 boys to 100 girls; in Singapore 118 boys per 100 girls; South Korea 112 boys per 100 girls; and in India, where the practice was outlawed in 1994, the ratio continues to exceed 120 boys for every 100 girls in some areas. Countries such as Greece, Luxembourg, El Salvador, the Philippines, Cape Verde, and Egypt, even among some ethnic groups in the United States (Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino), are showing the same deadly discrimination against daughters.
Over the last generation, the world has witnessed a drive toward smaller families, and this is directly related to sex selection. With fewer children, the sex of each child matters more. Analysis by Nicholas Eberstadt shows that, in India, each child after the first is increasingly unwanted, such that, with the second child, the desirability of girls to boys is 16% to 40%. By the fourth pregnancy, a girl's desirability is a sad 9%, compared with 75% in favor of a boy. With these odds, and with cheap sonogram technology and easy access to abortion, is it any wonder India reports that 300,000 to 500,000 girls go "missing" every year due to infanticide and abortion?
It is estimated that by 2020 there could be more than 35 million young "surplus males" in China and 25 million in India. Surplus Males: The Need for Balance. (2000). Bridges. Retrieved March 13, 2007.
In a book, Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population (MIT Press), (2004) Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer warn that the spread of sex selection is giving rise to a generation of restless young men who will not find mates. History, biology, and sociology all suggest that these "surplus males" will generate high levels of crime and social disorder, the authors say. Even worse, they continue, is the possibility that the governments of India and China will build up huge armies in order to provide a safety valve for the young men's aggressive energies.
"In 2020 it may seem to China that it would be worth it to have a very bloody battle in which a lot of their young men could die in some glorious cause," says Ms. Hudson, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University.
Those apocalyptic forecasts garnered a great deal of attention when the scholars first presented them, in the journal International Security, in 2002. "The thing that excites me about this research is how fundamental demography is," says David T. Courtwright, a professor of history at the University of North Florida and author of Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder From the Frontier to the Inner City (Harvard University Press, 1996), a study of sex ratios and murder rates in American history. "The basic idea that they have, that in some sense demography is social destiny -- that's a very powerful idea."
China's strict one-child policy, implemented in 1979 to reduce the population, has severely upset the gender balance in that country. A January 2007 report in the China Daily estimated that there will be 30 million more men than women of marriageable age in China by 2020, leading to possible widespread social unrest.
Already, the skewed sex ratio has resulted in a rise in the kidnapping and trafficking of women, both within the country and internationally. Mail order bride services have mushroomed, which, for a fee of up to $2,400, import wives for Chinese men from other countries, especially Burma. Joseph D'Agostino, vice president for communications with the Virginia-based Population Research Institute (PRI), calls the one-child policy "a massive violation of human rights" which affects both women and men.
The Dying Rooms, a shocking British documentary that created an outcry around the world, showed children abandoned in some of China's state orphanages, uncared for and left to die in unimaginable misery and squalour, victims of the one-child policy. It is reported that 95 percent of China's orphans are girls.