Worldwide, 107 baby boy, boys are born for even 100 baby girls every year. No doubt, that’s a pretty skewed ratio that has caught the imagination of scientists and sociologists for decades now. Of course, culture has a lot do with this skewed sex ratio, there’s no denying that.
For example, countries like India, China, Pakistan, etc. have traditionally had a longstanding bias against the fairer sex. Sex-selective abortion and gendercide are not unheard of in these regions, and that’s why one may be tempted to simply draw the conclusion that removal of those evil practices will eventually fix the issue over time.
That could not be further from the truth. As it turns out, even if we discounted all the cultural factors, the completely natural boy-to-girl ratio still remains somewhere around 105:100. That essentially means that women are inherently likely to give birth to more boys than girls.
Well, the answer is obviously pretty complicated and certainly can not be covered in a 2-minute read like this. However, we will try our best to give you a basic idea why the sex ratio between males and females at birth is rigged by none other than Mother Nature.
The answer – at least according to many renowned biologists, anthropologists, and sociologists – could be in how humans evolved. They argue, it’s a necessary evolutionary strategy deployed by Nature to ensure the survival of the human race. Allow me explain:
Well, first of all, the sex of a child primarily depends on a lot of underlying factors such as parental ages, the stress and anxiety the mother is exposed to, environmental exposure, at which point in the mother’s ovulation cycle was the egg was fertilized, and so on. So from a casual look, the odds of a baby boy being conceived should be as much as that of a baby girl. If you look at it that way, it’s a 50/50 game.
But most of the researchers observing this phenomenon are of the view that the game is rigged by Nature in favor of boys just to ensure an even-steven ratio between the two sexes in the long run. You see, right from the days in their mother’s wombs, baby boys are more vulnerable to fatal diseases and this continues even after they are born. Growing up, more boys than girls tend to put themselves at physical risk and this trend continues even after they grow up. For example, more males died during wars, hunting or intra/inter clashes.
So, if the sex ratio at birth were always 50:50, over the tens of thousands of years since the arrival of our species, the number of males would eventually decrease alarmingly. So, through the process of evolution, the sex-ratio at birth was tilted slightly in favor of more boys than girls in order to maintain a balance between males and females.
There’s another angle to this. Even if at some point of time females start outnumbering males, the sex-ratio will eventually come back to the original status-quo. How does that happen? Well, think about a small tribe with around 200 hundred tribe-members. For the sake of our argument, let’s consider that females in the tribe out number males by 130:70.
Now, with such a huge imbalance in the sex ratio, the courtship and reproductive prospects of the male members in that tribe would definitely be higher than the female members (makes perfect sense if you think about it in terms of supply and demand). Therefore, over the years, the family trees of those parents who are genetically more likely to give birth to more boys than girls. That process will continue for several generations and will eventually mitigate the previously huge gap between the number of females and males within the tribe.
Please note that this is only a theory based on the Theory of Evolution. Scientists are still studying this phenomenon and we still have miles to go before we can finally have that “Eureka” moment. But until that, the current explanation put forward by the scientific community definitely sheds some light on the mystery of skewed gender ratio at birth where more boys than girls, and by extension allows us a sneak peek into how complicated life and the process of evolution really is.
Fascinating, isn’t it?