Following Sen (1992), the ratio of girls to boys is used to assess discrimination against women in the area of health. There should be a fixed rate of male to female births in humans (about 5 % more boys than girls). In some countries and regions, however, there are much more boys then girls, which is often blamed on sex-selective abortion, infanticide, and neglect in health and nutrition. We focus on the age category 0–5 for two reasons. The first is that the three-fifth of missing women go missing in the birth–childhood period. Secondly, the phenomenon of missing girls at birth reflects discrimination in the household, resulting from the combination of strong preferences for sons combined with declining fertility and the spread of technologies allowing parents to know the sex of the child before birth. Missing girls/women at later stages of the life cycle reflect not only discriminatory practices against women, but also issues of general development, such as lack of healthcare, or infrastructure in terms of water and sanitation (World Bank, 2011)


Sarah Carmichael, Selin Dilli and Auke Rijpma, Utrecht University

Production date

20 August 2014


Sex ratio


Gender equality, demograpy

Time period


Geographical coverage

Worldwide, selected countries

Methodologies used for data collection and processing

Population distribution by gender from published census material were used to reconstruct the ratio of girls to boys aged 0–5 in each country. Decadal averages for each country were taken

Period of collection

See references

Data collectors

Auke Rijpma

Good after 1950 (based on official UN WPP 2013 statistics), before 1950 official government census data from Mitchell (2007) were used, but misreporting might be an issue in the original censuses for countries outside Europe and its offshoots

General references

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population

Division (2013), World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, Key

Findings and Advance Tables,


Mitchell, B. R. (2007), International Historical Statistics, 6th ed.

Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, [etc.].


Anguilla[No Data]

Antigua and Barbuda1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Aruba[No Data]

Bahamas1500 (5)-2013 (23)

Barbados1500 (5)-2016 (28)

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba[No Data]

British Virgin Islands[No Data]

Cayman Islands[No Data]

Cuba1500 (8)-2016 (35)

Curaçao[No Data]

Dominica1500 (5)-2016 (21)

Dominican Republic1500 (6)-2018 (38)

Grenada1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Guadeloupe[No Data]

Haiti1500 (6)-2018 (36)

Jamaica1500 (6)-2018 (35)

Martinique[No Data]

Montserrat[No Data]

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