UNFPA: Sex imbalances at birth threaten Armenia’s demography

The UNFPA Armenia Country Office presented today the findings of the 2012-2013 “Sex Imbalances at Birth in Armenia: Demographic Evidence and Analysis” study findings. The purpose of the study was an in-depth analysis of sex-at-birth imbalances in Armenia and projecting the possible consequences of the skewed sex ratio for the country. The study was conducted by Christophe Z Guilmoto, senior fellow at the French Institut de recherche pour le development (IRD, Research Institute for Development) based at CEPED in Paris and a leading expert on the issue of prenatal sex selection, at the request of UNFPA Armenia Country Office.

Dr. Guilmoto, together with Dr. Zahidul Huque, UNFPA Representative for Turkey and Country Director for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and Mr. Garik Hayrapetyan, UNFPA Armenia Assistant Representative spoke at the press conference. As the speakers indicated, the sex ratio at birth in Armenia rose after early 90s and today remains at a very high level of 114-115 of male births per 100 female births. This corresponds to one of the highest levels of birth masculinity observed anywhere in the world, surpassed only by China (118) and Azerbaijan (116).

According to the study, if the adverse practice of preventing girls from being born for the sake of having a boy is continued, almost 93,000 women will “go missing” and Armenia’s population will reduce by additional 80,000 inhabitants (it corresponds to the annual number of births over two years) by 2060, constituting, ceteris paribus, 2.60 million.

As the speakers noted, in Armenia, male children born after 1996 already outnumber female children by almost 39,000. “If we fail to prevent this process, part of men of the most active age in terms of entering marriage, 20-39 year olds, will relatively soon face problems, and being unable to find a pair will be forced either to migrate or to look for wives from abroad”, said Garik Hayrapetyan.

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