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State Worst Performer In Sex Ratio At Last Birth: Survey


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State worst performer in sex ratio at last birth: Survey

Amaninder Pal/TNS

Jalandhar, February 16

Amid claims that there is a drastic improvement in the sex ratio profile of Punjab, the unpalatable truth is that preference among couples of not having children once they have a son is the highest in the country. This has established that a desire for a son is as desperate as ever.

Although the sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 years is being used as a simplified indicator, there is yet another important scientific indicator, sex ratio at the last birth, which gives inference regarding the preference of couples for male and female children. This indicator establishes that in case of a preference for a male child in any society, sex ratio at the last birth will be low since couples would stop having children once they completed their family with a son.

Punjab is the worst performer in the country if one goes by this indicator. According to the National Family Health Survey-III, the sex ratio at the last birth is 504 in Punjab, which means if 1,000 couples decide not to go in for another child after a son, there will be only 504 couples who decide otherwise after the birth of a girl.

This ratio is worst even than the neighbouring Haryana and Himachal Pradesh where the NFHS-III has registered the ratios at 540 and 572, respectively.

“The very low sex ratio at the last birth in most of the states suggest that son preference is continuing to influence fertility decisions in such states even today,” reads the survey report, which was conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the Indian Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai, as a nodal agency.

However, Dr JP Singh, Director (Health Services) said this indicator was not enough to decide the trends of male-female child preferences in Punjab. Ironically, the picture was equally grim at the national level. All three surveys, including NFHS-I and II, established that the sex ratio at the last birth was decreasing with every passing year.

“The declining sex ratio at the last birth suggests that if a girl is born, it is unlikely to be the last child for a couple,” the report mentions.

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