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Delhi ’09 – Sex ratio plunges

December 9, 2010

A year ago I read a report that got me excited. It was about an increase in the female-to-male sex ratio of the births reported in Delhi for the year 2008. The ratio of 1004 girls per 1000 boys was received with lots of cheer and enthusiasm by the media but also with some skepticism. I discussed it on this blog. Skepticism reared its head in the crowd of cheer, questioning whether the explanation – Ladli scheme  – for this reported increase in the ratio was as simple as some claims made it to be.

A year later, the numbers tell a disappointing story. The female-to-male sex ratio for the births registered in Delhi during the next year – 2009 – fell to 915 girls per 1000 boys.

This fluctuation raises a question: Does the rise and fall in the ratio represent the actual ratio of total births in Delhi or does it merely reflect the ratio of registered births in Delhi? Were girls born outside the state but to a Delhi-resident parent registered in Delhi to take advantage of the monetary incentives that Ladli provided?

Skewed Death Ratio

589 female deaths were reported for every 1000 male deaths in Delhi. The concern is that these numbers might not represent the actual ratio but only the reported deaths. There are monetary reasons for people to report male deaths (related to property transfer after death); there aren’t such incentives to report female deaths. Incentives to report female births and incentives to report male deaths. What stories will these death numbers tell us when they are broken up by age groups? What if the female-to-male death ratio is heavily skewed in one age group more than in other age groups? Combined with the already skewed birth ratio, what implications would that compounded skewness have for the Delhi society?

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