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Countries with a skewed sex ratio at birth, because of a cultural preference for sons, are set to ‘lose’ another 4.7 million girls by 2030 despite a projected fall in excess male births in these countries over the next 20 years, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Global Health.

And this loss could reach 22 million globally by 2100 if all countries at risk of boosting this ratio above its natural level, including densely populated countries, such as Nigeria and Pakistan, do so, warn the researchers.

Prenatal sex selection has helped skew the sex ratio at birth in favor of boys in several countries from South East Europe to South East Asia since the 1970s, say the researchers.

The consequences of this preference will create a surplus of young men in more than a third of the world’s population, with the full social and economic impacts as yet unknown, they suggest.

To better understand the extent of ‘missing’ female births to inform policies against prenatal sex selection and to plan for the impact of future changes in... see more