More girls were adopted in the last three years than boys, data released by the government shows. Of all children placed in adoption from 2015 to 2018, as many as 6,962 were girls and 4,687 boys, the Ministry of Women and Child Development told the Lok Sabha on February 8.

This includes in-country and inter-country adoptions.

In 2015-’16, the number of female children placed for in-country adoption was 1,855 out of 3,011. The number rose to 1,915 in 2016-’17, and 1,943 in 2017-’18. The number of girls placed for inter-country adoption during the three years was two times the number of boys. Of the 2,310 children adopted, 1,594 were girls and 716 boys.

“It has been noticed that number of female children placed in in-country and inter-country adoptions has been more in number than the male children during last three years and current year [upto December 2018],” said Minister of State Virendra Kumar. “A large number of domestic adoptions also happen under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, and the corresponding data on adoption is not available with the Ministry of Women and Child Development.”

According to an expert, while more girl children may be adopted in urban areas, the situation may not be the same in villages and smaller cities. Sindhu Naik, a member of the Adoption Scrutiny Committee of Karnataka’s State Council of Child Welfare, told The Hindu that it needs to be studied if more girl children are being placed for adoption as well. Naik added that awareness about the situation of the girl child meant more people in urban areas and those from a middle-class background would prefer adopting them.

More girls being adopted showed that gender bias is on the wane, said Central Adoption Resource Authority member Prajakta Kulkarni.

Data released last month showed that India’s sex ratio at birth – or the number of girl children born for every 1,000 boys – was 877 in 2016, a decline of four points from 2015 and that of 26 points since 2007.