Masculinization of births in Eastern Europe
Population and Societies
n° 506, December 2013
Sex-selective abortion is not specific to Asia. Christophe Guilmoto and Géraldine Duthé explain why European countries in the Western Balkans and Southern Caucasus are affected too. Although the problem was described for the first time more than ten years ago, it is only now that the authorities in these countries and in Europe are starting to show concern.
In several countries of Eastern Europe, the sex ratio at birth is abnormally high. This is especially the case in the Southern Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) where it has sometimes exceeded 115 boys per 100 girls (a normal sex ratio is 105), and to a lesser extent in the Western Balkans, around Albania, where it hovers around 110. The persistence of traditional patriarchal values is central to the son preference observed in these regions, but the fertility decline and the development of modern healthcare services under the new political and economic regimes have raised demand for prenatal sex selection.