Sex Ratio in India

Sex Composition is expressed with the help of a ratio, commonly known as “Sex Ratio”. The Sex Composition of the human population is one of the introductory demographic characteristics. It's an important social index to measure the extent of prevailing equity between males and females at a given point in time. Separate data for males and females are important for various types of planning and for the analysis of other demographic factors such as fertility, mortality, mobility, occupational structure, marital status, etc. The balance in the number of males and females is very significant in society, as both sexes play contrasting and as well as complementary roles in the economy and society. Any imbalance between the two sexes will lead to serious consequences in society at large. 

What is the Sex Ratio? 

  • 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.

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. 

  1. Primary Sex Ratio- (Fertilization)
  2. Secondary Sex Ratio- (Birth Ratio)
  3. Tertiary Sex Ratio- (in Developed Organism)
  4. Quaternary Sex Ratio or Adult Sex Ratio - (Post-Reproductive Orgaism, above the age of 60 years)

Let us know these types of Sex Ratios in detail-

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’. More males are born than females in all areas of the world.

Tertiary Sex Ratio (TSR)

The Tertiary Sex Ratio is the ratio of Mature adolescents, at the age of 20s. The number of males is more as compared to females. 

Quaternary Sex Ratio (QSR) 

It is also known as Adult Sex Ratio. It is the proportion of the Adults at age of 60 years and above.

Sex Ratio in India

1. According to the 2011 Census, out of a total of 1210.1 million population, the male population is 623.7 and the female population comprises 586.4 million.

  • India’s sex ratio of the Indian population, according to the 2011 Census is 943.

2. According to the Report of the United Nations (World Population Prospects 2019)

  • India’s total population comprises a sex ratio of 108.18 males per 100 females in 2020.
  • In India, the population of males is 717,100,970 (717.10 million) and 662,903,415 females (662.90 million).
  • Females are 48.04 percent of the total population, whereas males are 51.96 percent.
  • India has the highest male population, with 54.20 million.
  • In India, the sex ratio is lower than that of Asia which is 927.

3. Sex Ratio of Kerela is high, because of -

  • High Literacy (100%).
  • Low mortality rate.
  • Ideal Social System.
  • Out-migration of the male population for better jobs.

Sex Ratio in India 2024

According to the latest, National Family Health Survey, 2020-21 (NFHS-5)-

  • In 2024, India’s Sex Ratio is 1020 Females per 1000 Males.
  • In Rural areas, the sex ratio is 985 females to 1000 males.
  • Prior, the census which was held in 2011, shows India’s total sex ratio was 943 females per 1000 males.
  • The Government's efforts to curb sex selection and to identify the child’s sex test have been banned. This is the reason that has made social change among the citizens in the last decade, thus normalizing the sex ratio.
  • The sex ratio at birth in the last five years in India is 929 females per 1000 males.

The difference of data in the sex ratio of the last and the current census survey:

Sex Ratio (Females per 1000 Males)2011 Census2024 (NFHS-5 Survey)

Lowest Sex Ratio in the Indian States 

According to the National Health Survey 2019-21, the following States in the country have the lowest sex ratio:

SNoStatesSex Ratio
5Madhya Pradesh970
7Arunachal Pradesh997

Highest Sex Ratio in the Indian States

According to the National Health Survey 2019-21, the following States in the country have the Highest sex ratio:

SNO.StatesSex Ratio
4Tamil Nadu1088
9West Bengal1049

Factors for Low-declining Sex Ratio

  • Male/Son Preference - The preference for a male child over a female child will always be there. Son is to be considered the breadwinner for the family and who can perform the last rites in the family. Males are considered to be responsible children.
  • Prioritizing small families- Many couples choose not to have a second child if the first child is male/son.

Factors for Neglecting the Girl Child

  • Dowry System- The Dowry system is still practised in many States. This is one of the reasons that parents do not want the girl child, who can not bear the burden of dowry.
  • Female Infanticide- Earlier when there was no ban on the sex determination of the child, people used to abort their girl child.

Measures Initiated by Indian Government to Improve the Sex Ratio

Many recommended measures were taken by the Government for the improvisation of the decreasing sex ratio. They are:

  • The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, of 1994, was enacted to stop female foeticides. The practice has been banned to know the sex determination of a child.
  • 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.

Some Other Measures-

  • Steps were taken to abolish Dowry System
  • Law was made against the child-marriage.
  • Social Media also awakens the citizens of India.
Sex Ratio in India- FAQs

The highest sex ratio is in Kerela and the lowest sex ratio is in Haryana.

In 2024, India’s Sex Ratio is 1020 females per 1000 males. The sex ratio is 1037 in rural areas and 985 females for every 1000 males in urban areas.

According to the 2011 Census, India’s sex ratio is 943 females per 1000 males.

The sex ratio refers to the “number of females per 1000 males in a given area at a specific time period”.

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