Sunday, June 26, 2005

Boy Baby Births Declining

Did anyone hear this story on Morning Edition last week? Fewer male babies are being born in the United States today than 60 years ago.

Male babies are still slightly more common than girls – in 2002, 1048 boys were born for every 1000 girls. But their rate relative to girls is declining. In 1942, 1055 boys were born for every 1000 girls.

A small difference, admittedly, but if you multiply it over the entire U.S. population, there are 850,000 fewer males now than there would be if the 1942 ratio stayed intact.

No one knows why male birth rates are declining relative to female birth rates. Among the hypotheses are the influence of environmental hormone mimics, and the prevalence of single parenthood. Apparently women whose partner does not live with them at the time they conceive are more likely to birth a daughter than women whose partner lives with her at the time of conception.

The news story pointed out that this could be bad news for women who already feel there aren’t any available men to marry.

It didn’t raise the fact that women are on the rise. We’re still in the minority, yes. But we haven’t come this close to matching men body for body in years…if ever! And don’t forget, we tend to outlive them by several years.

Think of the potential!


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