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Armenia: Are Selective Abortions Behind Birth Ratio Imbalance?

Should Armenia worry about a shortage of girls? (Photo: Anahit Hayrapetyan)

Armenia’s high rate of male births is alarming international and Armenian pre-natal specialists. Their chief concern is that selective abortions are contributing to a demographically undesirable gender imbalance.

Government statistics indicate that a gender imbalance in births has existed since the early 1990s, but the trend has become more visible in recent years. The State Statistical Service of Armenia reports that 23,800 boys and 20,900 girls were born in 2010, working out to a rate of about 114 male births for every 100 female births. In 2009, 23,600 boys and 20,700 girls were born, marking approximately the same birth ratio as in 2010.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) puts the worldwide sex ratio at birth at 105-106 males per 100 females. Armenia has an overall population of 2.96 million.

Assessing the birth ratio, the head of the State Statistical Service’s Census and Demography Department warned that Armenia faces “a serious problem.”

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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.

Armenia: Are Selective Abortions Behind Birth Ratio Imbalance?

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