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J Biosoc Sci. 2015 May;47(3):363-75. doi: 10.1017/S0021932014000182. Epub 2014 May 22.

Sex ratio at birth in twenty-first century Greece: the role of ethnic and social groups.

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*Department of Geography,University of the Aegean,Lesvos,Greece.
†Department of Sociology,University of the Aegean,Lesvos,Greece.


The number of male per 100 female live births (defined as the sex ratio at birth, SRB) has been shown to be consistently stable in human populations irrespective of time and geographical location. All over the globe approximately 105 boys are born for every 100 girls and any significant deviation from this 'global average' is considered to be unnatural and is attributed to sex-selective under-reporting of births, sex-selective abortion, sex-selective infanticide or other man-made factors. The present paper uses data on civil registration from 2004-2011 to investigate the sex ratio at birth in modern Greece. It was found that the SRB is extremely masculine when the parents originate from the Indian sub-continent and China. The SRB is also unnaturally high (more than 113 boys per 100 girls) in the case of legitimate births born to Greek mothers who are illiterate. These findings are strong evidence that sex-selective abortions are taking place in Greece within population groups with a certain ethnic and social profile. Other parameters, such as age of mother at birth, birth order, legal status of birth and geographical location, were also investigated and they were found to play a role in the variation of SRB, but not to the extent education and ethnic group do.

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