Fertility decline and gender bias in Northern India

Type Journal Article - Demography
Title Fertility decline and gender bias in Northern India
Volume 40
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2003
Page numbers 637-657
The existence of strong preference for sons in India, particularly in northern parts of the country, has now been thoroughly established through wide varity of data (Willamson, 1976; Miller, 1981; Arnold et al., 1998). There also exists considerable body of research that shows that, in the Indian context, son preference has a sizable positive effect on fertility and contraceptive practice (Das, 1987; Malhotra et al., 1995; Murthi et al., 1995; Mutharayappa et al., 1997; Kulkarni, 1999). At the same time, there has been a growing international concern on the issue of 'missing' females and the increasing masculinity of India's population (Sen, 1989; Coale, 1991; Das Gupta and Bhat, 1997; Mayer, 1999; Griffiths et al, 2000; Sudha and Rajan, 1999; Agnihotri 2000). A noteworthy aspect of the century-long trend of rising masculinity of India's population is that since 1961 this rise has been mainly due to the deterioration of the sex ratio in juvenile ages (see Figure 1). Quite significantly, as juvenile sex ratios were falling, the level of fertility too was declining as indicated by the downward trend in the proportion of population of age 0-6 years. By showing a further fall in the juvenile sex ratio (girls in the age group 0-6 years per 1000 boys), the preliminary results of the latest Indian census (India, Registrar General, 2001) has fuelled the speculation that gender discrimination is intensifying in India

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