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Vietnam Has 3rd-Highest Sex Ratio Imbalance in the World, Report Says

Families are choosing to have more boys than girls, and experts worry this will cause problems in the future.

SGGP reports that new data from the United National Population Fund (UNFPA) shows that in 2019, Vietnam's sex ratio was 111.5 boys per 100 girls, an imbalance behind only China and India. 

Vietnam's gender ratio has been imbalanced since 2006, and Phạm Vũ Hoàng, deputy head of the General Office for Population and Family Planning, told the news source that this issue began in Vietnam later than some other Asian countries, but has worsened quickly. 

Back in 2006, the sex ratio was 104–106 boy per 100 girls, a disparity that has only grown since. In 2010 and 2015, the figure was 111.2 boys and 112.8 boys per 100 girls, respectively. Within the country, different regions have differing imbalances as well, with rural provinces having higher ratios than urban areas. 

Hà Thị Quỳnh Anh, a gender specialist at UNFPA, shared with the newspaper that biased gender selection is behind the problem. She explained that many families prefer for sons to inherit the family home or wealth, while men are also thought to be stronger and more capable of caring for their parents as they age. 

Shrinking family sizes and technology that allows for families to know the sex of a baby before it is born have accelerated this trend, and it estimated that nearly 41,000 girls go unborn annually in Vietnam. This figure is determined by the difference between the estimated number of girls expected to be born, and the actual number born.

If this problem persists, it is estimated that by 2050, Vietnam could have up to 4.3 million more men than it would without gender selection. 

In response, the news source states that the Vietnamese government is working to raise awareness of the importance of a balanced sex ratio while also pushing social organizations and members of the community to act. As part of this plan, which will last until 2025, officials hope to bring the ratio below 109 boys to 100 girls nationally by 2030.

Anh, from UNFPA, said: "We need to build positive male and female models as well as new gender standards in the family. For example, men are willing to share the chores with women; women can do jobs previously thought only to be able to be done by men. Children can take the mother's surname, or sons and daughters have equal inheritance rights."