Summary

(May 2003) China has the world's most severe shortage of girls to boys. This PowerPoint presentation was given at a PRB policy seminar, "Shortage of Girls in China," on April 24, 2003. The 2000 census shows there are 20 percent more boys than girls at ages 0 to 4 in the whole country, and seven provinces totaling 387 million people have 28 percent to 36 percent more boys than girls at ages 0 to 4. The serious shortage of girls in China has gotten worse during the last two decades, and the problem is real — not merely undercounting of girls.

Dr. Banister analyzes the causes of these losses of daughters in China. She shows how female fetuses, babies, and young girls are selectively aborted or die prematurely and what leads families to dispose of some daughters in these ways. She demonstrates the consequences of these actions for China and the world and compared China's "missing girl" situation with that in other countries, in particular East Asian, South Asian, Muslim, and other developing countries. Also discussed is how China and other countries might go about solving this abnormal shortage of girls.

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Judith Banister is a demographer specializing in the People's Republic of China and other Asian countries. She works for Javelin Investments in Beijing as a senior consultant and is an honorary professor at the Social Science Research Centre, Hong Kong University.