Vietnam's skewed gender imbalance hits all-time high

By Nam Son, Thanh Nien News

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Students at a school in Ho Chi Minh City's District 5. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach Students at a school in Ho Chi Minh City's District 5. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach

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The prevalence of male births grew in the first half of this year, despite myriad efforts to reverse the trend, according to Duong Quoc Trong, director of Vietnam's Department for Population and Family Planning.
“Nationwide sex ratios at birth in the first six months this year increased to 114.3 males per 100 females, far exceeding the previous numbers,” he said during a conference Thursday in Hanoi.
The ratios were 111.2 males per 100 females in 2010 and rose to 112 males per 100 females last year.
In 2012, population experts warned that more than 4.3 million Vietnamese men would be unable to find a wife by 2050.
Trong said the number of newborn babies in the first half of this year fell by around 21 percent over last year, but the gender imbalance significantly increased.
“Vietnam has been determined to pursue all relevant measures, but failed to hit the expected target because a cultural preference for sons remains deeply engrained in the mind of Vietnamese people.”
“If this rising imbalance can’t be controlled, the consequences will be dire,” he said.
Experts warned that the imbalance with lead to a shortage of 2.3 – 4.3 million women of marrying age by 2050, causing other social consequences like human trafficking.
“China is lacks 67 million [women] and India lacks 42 million women in comparison to men. Vietnam will be no exception because of the increasing imbalance in sex ratios,” he said.
Despite the fact that prenatal gender selection is illegal in Vietnam, black market services continue to thrive, he said.
According to a survey released at the conference, only 11 percent of women prefer to have a daughter; the proportion of those who prefer to have a son is three times higher.

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