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, data collected by the Office of the Registrar General of India using the Civil Registration System has showed.

Southern states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have shown the sharpest decline over the period between 2007 and 2016. In Andhra Pradesh, the sex ratio at birth was 974 in 2007, and it dipped by 168 points to 806 in 2016. A year earlier, Andhra had a ratio of 971. During the period between 2007 and 2016, the sex ratio at birth declined by 108 points in Karnataka and by 95 in Tamil Nadu.

In 2013, when Telangana was formed, the child sex ratio at birth was 954. It dropped 73 points to 881. In Goa, it fell by 47 points during this period.

Kerala was the only southern state to record an increase; the ratio rose by 10 points from 944 to 954 during this period. During the 2007-2016 period, Odisha’s child sex ratio at birth fell by 61 points and that of Uttarakhand by 44 points.

In 2016, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan had the worst sex ratio at birth of 806. This was followed by Uttarakhand with 825 and Bihar with 837 girl children for every 1,000 boys. Tamil Nadu came fifth with 840 births, the data showed. Punjab (857), Odisha (858), Jharkhand (863) and Haryana (865) were the other poor performers.

Northeastern states such as Sikkim (999), Nagaland (967), Arunachal Pradesh (964), Mizoram (964) and Tripura (917) were among the best performers in 2016. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands (987), Chhattisgarh (980) and Daman and Diu (974) also performed well.

Activist Sabu George told The Times of India that there was a problem of declining sex ratios in southern states. But, he said, the 2016 figures were too low even taking that in consideration. “I think there is a problem in the birth registration system in some districts in these states, which is pulling the overall ratio down,” he was quoted as saying.

Credit: Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India