Number of women surpasses men for first time, shows survey

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25

In welcome trends that signal a decline in adverse sex selection, the ratio of women to men has crossed the 1,000 mark for the first time.

Sex ratio of India’s total population — defined as the number of women per 1,000 men — stands at 1020, according to the latest round of the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS). This represents an improvement of 29 points at the national level from 991 in 2015-16 (NFHS-4) to 1,020 in 2019-21 (NFHS-5).

Disaggregated data further show that rural India is leading the preference for girls with 1,037 women as against 1,000 men. The ratio in urban India is 985.

Haryana and Punjab, societies with traditional preference for sons, have powered the gains at the population level with sex ratio in Haryana improving by 50 points between the two surveys — from 876 to 926.

Punjab has registered a gain of 33 points in the sex ratio, which is now 938 as against 905 in 2015-16.

The trend of improvement in sex ratio (25 to 50 years) holds across India expect in five states and UTs — Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Chhattisgarh.

“Sex ratio at the population level has crossed 1,000 for the first time. This trend is normally common in developed nations. The indications are that national women’s empowerment programmes are moving in the right direction, with the acceptance for girls increasing and adverse sex selection trends reversing,” said ministry officials.


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