VN among top countries of sex ratio imbalance at birth

Friday 16/10/2020 09:29

VGP – Viet Nam’s imbalance rate in 2019 was 111.5 boys per 100 girls, behind only China and India - the two most populous countries in the world.

According to the latest report on the world’s population conducted by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Viet Nam has faced a sex ratio imbalance at birth since 2006.

In 2006, the country's sex ratio at birth started to exceed normal levels (104-106 boys to 100 girls). That ratio increased to 111.2 boys in 2010 and 112.8 boys in 2015. The increase was different between urban and rural areas and among regions.

As Viet Nam is listed among three countries with the highest rate of sex ratio imbalance at birth, local authorities are making efforts to raise public awareness and tighten regulations to shorten the gap.

Pham Vu Hoang, deputy head of General Office for Population and Family Planning, said the imbalance started in Viet Nam late but has increased faster than in other Asian countries.

The general population and housing census in 2019 showed the ratio was higher in rural areas than urban. The Red River Delta in the north had the highest level of imbalance.

Ha Thi Quynh Anh, a gender and human right specialist from the UNFPA, attributed the sex imbalance at birth in Viet Nam to biased gender selection.

Many families in Viet Nam prefer sons to inherit the home when parents have died and take over ancestor worship. Men are believed to be stronger than women so sons are trusted to work and take care of parents when they get old.

Many families abuse the development of technology to select their children’s gender. Decreased family size has forced parents to choose to have at least one son, she said.

Those reasons resulted in 40,800 unborn girls in Viet Nam each year. This figure is calculated based on the difference between the estimated number of girls born following natural laws and the actual number of girls born in a year, Anh said.

International and Vietnamese studies have shown that sex imbalance at birth can lead to unpredictable consequences for society, the economy and political security.

There will be more men at marriage age than women, breaking the family structure, Pham Vu Hoang, deputy head of the General Office for Population and Family Planning said.

International experts have predicted that if the sex imbalance at birth is not controlled, by 2050, Vietnam will have a surplus of about 2.3 to 4.3 million men. That leads to some men having to marry late and many of them being unable to.

The increase in the sex ratio at birth also increases inequality such as the early marriage of women, increasing rate of divorce and remarriage of women, gender violence and woman trafficking, Hoang said.

By Hoang Ha

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