The infographic above summarizes the data on sex ratio from The World Factbook 2020. The gender ratio shows the number of males for every female. There are some interesting findings in the gender ratio. Firstly, the overall gender ratios fluctuate by age. Secondly, some countries hold extremely imbalanced gender ratios for certain age groups. Lastly, although the overall gender ratio at birth is nearly equal, some countries had more baby boys than baby girls.
Now, let’s discuss each topic in depth.
Observation #1 – By Age
At an overall global level, the gender ratio is 1.04, which is decently balanced with the number of males slightly more than that of females. Looking into the data by age group, the distribution is not even. From the birth to the age of 54, the ratio remains somewhere around 1.04 to 1.05.
However, in the age group of 55 to 64 the ratio becomes 1.02, and finally it becomes 0.86 over 65. This means that there are more females in higher age groups than males. This could be attributed to the longer life expectancy of females.
Observation #2 – By Nation
Some countries have the total population with extremely imbalanced gender ratio. Qatar has the most male-dominant population with a ratio of 3.39, followed by UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. These countries, however, have balanced gender ratios of 1.02 – 1.07 at birth. Typically, the ratios spike up at certain age groups, i.e., age groups of 25 – 54 and 55 – 65, for the Middle Eastern countries mentioned above. This could be the result of the workforce immigrants flowing into the region.
On a side note, these Middle Eastern countries except for UAE have a higher gender gap according to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index 2021.
On the other hand, Djibouti has the most female-dominant population with a ratio of 0.83, followed by Lithuania, Ukraine, Latvia, and Russia. Slicing down the data, female population largely outnumbers male population in the age group over 65. One of the explanations for this extreme imbalance is the Russian civil war, famine, and the “Great Terror” in the early 20th century in the area.
Observation #3 – Imbalance at Birth
It is notable that most of the countries in the list have the balanced sex ratio at birth. Liechtenstein has the most male-dominant population at birth with a gender ratio of 1.26, followed by China and India with a gender ratio of 1.11.
The disparity of gender ratio at birth is possibly caused by birth control due to certain gender preferences. However, interestingly, abortion is illegal in Liechtenstein in most circumstances as of 2022 where the disparity is the largest.
Possible Reasons for Abnormal Gender Ratio
Like any other species, human’s gender ratio at birth is naturally close to 1:1. However, several factors contribute to imbalance. Labor immigration, war, and different mortality ratio cause gender ratio imbalance in certain age groups. On the other hand, gender ratio imbalance at birth can be a result of deliberate birth control due to gender preferences in the society.