High level of sex ratio at birth in the Caucasus. A persistent phenomenon?

Géraldine Duthé, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
France Meslé, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Jacques Vallin, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Irina Badurashvili, Georgian Centre of Population Research
Karine Kuyumjyan, National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia

During the 1990s, sex ratio at birth has considerably increased in the three Caucasian countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. In the year 2000, it ranged from 1.15 (Azerbaijan) to 1.20 (Armenia). In the most recent years levels remain abnormally high in the three countries. There are different possible explanations for this increase. It may be due to a deterioration of birth registration that would affect more girls than boys but it could also be related to the expansion of selective abortion in favour of males. On the basis of previous Georgian and Armenian fertility surveys, a preliminary research has clearly demonstrated the reality of the phenomenon. Patterns in parity progression ratio showed significant preference for males and special analysis of some questions indirectly evidence that selective abortion appeared to be the way to obtain children of the desired sex. It was also clear that most of the global effect is due to the third birth. The aim of this paper is to analyse new available data from recent surveys (2005 DHS in Armenia, 2006 DHS in Azerbaijan, 2005 RHS in Georgia) in order to enlarge the first analyses, and to extend them to Azerbaijan. The results should help national authorities to become aware of this worrying phenomenon.

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Presented in Session 1: Fertility