Sex Ratio at Birth in India: New Evidence from NFHS-4

Abhishek Singh , International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Kaushalendra Kumar, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Ajit Yadav, GIZ
K. S. James, International Institute for Population Sciences
Lotus McDougal, University of California, San Diego
Yamini Atmavilas, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Anita Raj, University of California, San Diego

Evidence on factors affecting sex ratio at birth (SRB) is limited in India. We examined the factors associated with SRB using births occurred between 2005 and 2016 in fourth round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4). The SRB at birth order 1 was 107.5. South India, which was never known for sex-selection, also had an SRB of 107.5. At birth order 1, the probability of male birth was associated with middle and richest wealth quintiles, lower fertility at community level, and residing in central and east regions. Most SRB correlates are visible for parity 2 or 3+. Among birth orders 2 and 3 or higher, the probability of a male birth among land owning households was higher compared with households who did not own land. Mothers not having a previous son and mothers who reported higher ideal number of sons than daughters were more likely to have a male birth compared with their counterparts. Fertility in the immediate neighborhood was negatively associated with the probability of male birth in regressions. We also get evidence for the use of ultrasound technology to detect the sex of the fetus particularly among mothers who do not have a previously surviving son. Our analysis indicates that spatial autocorrelations of the SRBs at the district level are weaker than those observed in few past studies dealing with sex ratio of children population. Since the SRB is highly affected by sample size, any ecological analysis of SRBs estimated from survey data must be dealt with caution.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course