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Gender Composition

Gender Composition

   Indian Census has the tradition of bringing out disaggregated information by sex on various aspects of population. The first and foremost component of gender statistics revealed by Census 2001, 532 million constituting 52 percent are males and 497 million constituting remaining 48 percent are females in the population. In sheer numbers, males outnumber females by 35 million in population.

    Sex ratio is defined as the number of females per thousand males. It is an important and useful indicator to assess relative excess of deficit of men or women in a given population at that point of time. Sex differentials can be due to difference in mortality rate, migration, sex ratio at birth and at times the undercounting of women at the time of population enumeration.

    It is commonly understood that males and females in the population balance each other in number. Little do they know sexes are imbalanced in different population across the worlds .According to United Nation estimates, the world had 986 females against 1000 males in 2000. Except Indonesia and Japan, all other Asian countries have low sex ratios. However, most of the developed European countries have high sex ratio. Interestingly the sheer weight of the population of the four Asian countries, particularly China (944) and India (933) with low sex ratio contributes to the preponderance of males over fameless in world.

                                                          / TOWNS BY SEX RATIO OF TOTAL POPULATION: INDIA

Sex ratio No. of Districts No. of Villages No. UAs/towns
Less than 800 9 33,876 201
800-849 39 44,636 270
850-899 116 86,359 1,140
900-949 193 125,542 1,261
950-999 162 117,935 948
1000 & above 74 174,351 558
Total* 593 582,699 4,378
Source : Primary Census Abstract, India, Census of India 2001
Note : Excludes villages with no male / female population

   The Census has shown an increase in the sex ratio of total population from 927 in 1991 to 933 in 2001 thought it still needs further improvement. Eighteen states/Uts have recorded sex ratio above the national average of 933, while remaining seventeen falls below this. Chandigarh and Daman & Diu occupy the bottom positions with less than 800 females per 1000 males. In rural India, sex ration is higher at 946 while in the urban areas there are only 900 females per thousand male populations. Migration of males to urban areas could be one of the reasons for lower sex ration in urban areas. Only Kerala and Pondicherry have sex ratio in favor of females for all the areas, Manipur has preponderance of females in urban areas (1009). I

   The sex ratio of population in villages and towns helps to know the composition of population distribution at lower levels and is also useful in micro level planning. About half of the villages in the country have sex ratio of total population above 950 while only one third towns and Urban Agglomerations fall in this category. There are 184,712 villages and 558 UAs / Towns with sex ratio 1000 or more in Census 2001.

Child Sex ratio (0-6 years)
   Like the sex composition of the total population, the sex composition by age groups is vital for studying the demographic trends of young population, its future patterns and particularly, the status of the girl child. At the Census 2001, sex ratio of the population in the age group 0-6 years has been registered as 927, in India, declining from 945 in 1991 and 962 in 1981. The decreasing sex ratio in this age group has a cascading effect on population over a period of time leading to diminishing sex ratio in the country. One thing is clear – the imbalance that has set in at this early age group is difficult to be removed and would remain to haunt the population for a long time to come.

   The problem is better understood, if one considers the fact that the child sex ratio is primarily influenced by sex ratio at birth and mortality in the early childhood. The natural sex ratio at birth usually has higher male births. It ranges between 943 and 954. But the advantage of higher sex ratio at birth (SRB) is neutralized due to higher male infant mortality in the normal population. Prior to 2001, the child sex ratio was close to sex ratio at birth but due to rapid decline, this has fallen even below the natural SRB in Census 2001. This reflects a grim picture of the status of the girl child in the country and majority of the states. The magnitude of the decline can be seen by the fact that 31 States / Uts have registered a decline in Child Sex Ratio during 2001.Alarming trends are discerned in some of the major states like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujrat, and Delhi. Only Kerala, Pondicherry and Lakshdweep have shown an increasing trend between 1991-2001.

   Though the national average for child sex ratio in the case of rural population is higher at 934 if compared to 906 of urban population, the position is not encouraging as this is also below the natural sex ratio at birth. Moreover, this has registered a decline if compared to 1991 when it was 948. Only Dadra & Nagar Haveli (1003), Lakshdweep (999), Chhatishgarh (982), Meghalaya (973) and Jharkhand (973) have satisfactory child sex ratio. Twenty-three States/Uts have reported child sex ratio above the national average and remaining twelve falls below this mark in their rural areas. Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab are placed at the bottom with chi8ld sex ratio raging between 850-799. Aggregated at the national level, the child sex ratio in urban areas is very low at 906, which is a sharp decline from935 in 1991. Eleven States / Uts have child sex ratio below the national average in 2001, indicative of sex selective births due to female feticides.

                                   TABLE 4: NUMBERS OF VILLAGES AND URBAN AGGLOMERATION UAs
                                                      /TOWNS BY CHILD SEX RATIO (0-6 YEARS): INDIA


Sex ratio No. of Districts No. of Villages No. of UAs/towns
Less than 800 14 122,520 236
800-849 35 55,021 454
850-899 69 65,175 921
900-949 217 70,468 1,457
950-999 250 53,544 939
1000 & above 8 221,856 370
Total* 593 588,584 4,377
Source : Primary Census Abstract, India, Census of India 2001
Note : Excludes villages with no male / female population

The child sex ratio (0-6) in the country in villages and UAs / Towns is low when compared to the sex ratio of the total population reflecting prevalence of bias against the girl child in certain parts of the country both in villages and towns. In 122,517 villages, the chi8ld sex ratio is less than 800, while in the case of overall sex ratio, only 33,876 villages are in this group. Nearly 40 % villages in the country which have more than 50 population in the age group 0-6 have recorded chi8ld sex ratio (0-6) below 900 in Census 2001. There are 690 UAs / Towns which have returned child sex ratio below 850 while for the total population as a whole this is 471 UAs/Towns in this group.