• Sex ratio is used to describe the ratio of females to males in a population. Sex Ratio refers to the “number of females per 1000 males in a given area at a specific time period”. It is used to indicate the Sex Composition. Certain countries confute it as the number of males to females.
    • Historically, all over the world, it has been found that there are slightly more males than females in most countries.
    • A ratio of 1,000 signifies gender parity, while ratios above 1,000 suggest an excess of females, and those below 1,000 indicate a deficit.
  • In India, the sex ratio has been estimated via a number of methods and data sets including the decennial censuses, the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS), the Civil Registration System, the Sample Registration System and the Health Management Information System.

Types of Sex Ratio

  • The sex ratio mainly depends on the population’s age. There are 4 types of sex ratios divided according to the stages of development. 
    • Primary Sex Ratio- (Fertilization)
    • Secondary Sex Ratio- (Birth Ratio)
    • Tertiary Sex Ratio- (in Developed Organism)
    • Quaternary Sex Ratio or Adult Sex Ratio – (Post-Reproductive Orgaism, above the age of 60 years)
  • Primary Sex Ratio (PSR)
    • It is the ratio/rate of males to females in a population. The Primary Sex Ratio is determined as the ratio at the time of conception. 
    • It is determined from the male and female frequency of abortions, miscarriages, and stillbirths along with their live birth records. 
  • Secondary Sex Ratio (SSR)
    • It is the ratio/rate of males to females at the time of birth. 
    • It is easy to determine, but it does not account for disproportionate embryonic or fetal mortality. It is also known as the ‘Natural Sex Ratio’.
  • Tertiary Sex Ratio (TSR)
    • The tertiary sex ratio is that of the sexually mature members of any particular population.
    • Also called Adult Sex Ratio (ASR), It is the ratio of Mature adolescents, at the age of 20s.
      • Operational sex ratio (OSR) is the proportion of adults in the sexually active population that are males.
  • Quaternary Sex Ratio (QSR) 
    • It is the proportion of the Adults at age of 60 years and above.
    • Many times quaternary sex ratios are used to represent the sex ratios of adults that are no longer reproductively viable.

Indian Sex Ratio

  • Sex ratio in India, is defined as the number of females per 1000 males in a population whereas internationally sex ratio is defined as number of males per 100 females.
  • In developing countries such as India, sex ratio is a generally skewed in favour of the males. The prevailing patriarchal society creates a gender imbalance by viewing the male as an asset and the female as a liability for the family.
  • Over the past few decades, a declining child sex ratio favourable to males has become a characteristic of India‘s population pattern. This trend has been recorded in the country since the early 1980s and has not reversed since then.
  • As per Census 2011, India’s population was 121.06 Cr and the females constituted 48.5% of it. Theaverage annual growth rate in population has declined from 1.95 in 2001 to 1.63 in 2011.
    • Similar pattern is observed for females (1.99 -2001, 1.68 -2011) and for males (1.92 -2001, 1.58 -2011).
  • In 2011, the sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males) at all India level was 943 and the same for rural and urban areas are 949 and 929 respectively.
  • The sex ratio for 0-19 age group was 908 while that of 60+ age group was 1033. The sex ratio in the economically active age group (15-59 years) was 944.
  • The sex ratio was highest in Kerala (1084) followed by Puducherry (1037) and lowest in Daman & Diu(618) followed by Dadar & Nagar Haveli (774) and then Chandigarh (818).
  • Over the last 60 years (Post Independence) considerable improvement in sex ratio was observed in Andaman & Nicobar Islands (40.16%), Delhi (13.02%), Assam (10.34%) and West Bengal (9.82%). However, the situation has worsened in the major States of Bihar (-8.21%) and Odisha (-4.23).
Sex Ratio and Average Annual Growth Rate of Population
Source: Office of the Registrar General, India
Rural-Urban Sex Ratio

Child Sex Ratio (CSR)

  • The Child Sex Ratio (CSR), representing the number of females per 1,000 males in the 0–6-year-old category, is a critical demographic indicator.
    • The sex ratio is calculated using the formula:
      • Sex Ratio = (Number of Females / Number of Males) x 1000
  • India’s CSR was 927 in the 2001 census but saw a decline to 918 in the 2011 census.
 Sex ratio in the Age-Group 0-6 Years
Sex ratio in the Age-Group 0-6 Years
Variation In Child Sex Ratio from 2001 to 2011

National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5, 2019-21)

  • Sex Ratio: As per the latest 5th report of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5, 2019-21) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare the sex ratio of total population (females per 1000 males) is 1020 for the country as a whole, with sex ratio rural at 1037 and sex ratio urban at 985.
    • This is the highest sex ratio for any NFHS survey as well as since the first modern synchronous census conducted in 1881.
    • In the 2005-06 NFHS, the sex ratio was 1,000 or women and men were equal in number.
  • Sex Ratio at Birth: 
    • For the first time in India, between 2019-21, there were 1,020 adult women per 1,000 men.
    • However, the data shall not undermine the fact that India still has a sex ratio at birth (SRB) more skewed towards boys than the natural SRB (which is 952 girls per 1000 boys).
    • Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra are the major states with low SRB.

Historical Perspective of Sex Ratio in India (Trends)

S.N.Census YearSex Ratio (females/1000 males)

Measures Initiated by Indian Government to Improve the Sex Ratio

  • The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, of 1994, was enacted to stop female foeticides.
    • The Act prohibits determination and disclosure of the sex of foetus.
    • It also prohibits any advertisements relating to pre-natal determination of sex and prescribes punishment for its contravention.
    • The person who contravenes the provisions of this Act is punishable with imprisonment and fine.
  • The Government is rendering financial support to the States and UTs for operationalization of PNDT Cells, Capacity Building, Orientation & Sensitisation Workshop, Information, Education and Communication campaigns and for strengthening structures for the implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique (PC-PNDT) Act under the National Health Mission (NHM).
  • 24th January is known and celebrated as “National Girl Child Day”, declared by the Ministry of Women & Child Development in 2012, as to spread awareness of the rights of a girl child and lay emphasis on girl’s education, health, and nutrition
  • On International Women’s Day, the Sabla Yojana was launched in 2011. Aims the empowerment of teenagers, or adolescent girls for the improvement of their health, nutrition, education, etc.
  • The Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao Scheme was launched in Panipat in 2015. The main Objectives are-
    • The discrimination inherent in the society that is faced by girls, this scheme aims at changing the mindset of citizens in the country.
    • The scheme seeks to address the issue of reducing the child sex ratio (CSR) and to enhance women’s empowerment, by eliminating gender-biased inequalities and also safeguarding the girl child.
    • Ensuring that every girl child gets the necessity of education.
    • The Schemes aim at improving the girl-child ratio in States like Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.
    • The promotion of Gender Equality.
    • Aim at the financial security of the girl child, securing their education, growth, and development
    • Prevention of Child-Marriage.
  • A Scheme ‘Care and Protection of Girl Child’ – A Multi Sectoral Action Plan to improve Child Sex Ratio’, with a comprehensive approach in a well coordinated and strategic manner by multiple stakeholders at different levels to arrest the decline and significantly improve the Child Sex Ratio in most critical 100 districts with adverse CSR spread across 12 States as a special intervention is being formulated.
    • These districts are drawn on the basis of worse Child Sex Ratio as per Primary Census Abstract, 2011. The Action Plan will be implemented within the geographical jurisdiction of a district at Gram Panchayat/Ward level.
  • Some Other Measures-
    • Steps were taken to abolish Dowry System
    • Law was made against the child-marriage.
    • Community sensitization and awareness generation activities are being undertaken, notably, ‘Beti Janmohotsava‘, which is an initiative under Mission Poorna Shakti in Pali, Rajasthan for promoting the value of girl child amongst the community.
    • As a part of the awareness campaign, religious and spiritual leaders have been approached to speak against sex selection, video spots on girl child and sex selection aired on national and private television networks. Brand ambassadors have been used for the Government’s ‘Save the Girl Child’ campaign. ‘Atmaja’, a serial on the plight of the girl child has been telecast on the National Network.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments