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The Missing Girls of China: A New Demographic Account

Sten Johansson and Ola Nygren
Population and Development Review
Vol. 17, No. 1 (Mar., 1991), pp. 35-51
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1972351
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1972351
Page Count: 17
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The Missing Girls of China: A New Demographic Account
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Abstract

High sex ratios at birth in China in the 1980s imply the existence of some 500,000 "missing" girls per year. The authors' analysis of the 1988 two-per-thousand fertility survey indicates that the high sex ratios occur especially among third and higher order births conceived outside local birth plans under China's stringent one-child family planning policy. Adoptions are estimated to account for about half of the missing girls. Some girls whose births went unreported are presumably living with their parents, but the inability to estimate the size of this phenomenon hampers estimates of female infanticide. Excess female infant mortality is postulated at about 39,000 per year, or about 4 infant deaths per thousand live-born girls.

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