Vietnam News

Red River Delta gender imbalance highest in the country

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Gender imbalance in the Red River Delta is the highest among all Vietnamese regions, with 115 boys born for every 100 girls, a new report says.

The 2021 Country Gender Equality Profile for Vietnam, released Tuesday by UN Women in cooperation with the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, the Asian Development Bank and the International Labor Organization, notes that Vietnam has “an extreme imbalance in the sex ratio at birth due to son preference and sex-selective abortion.”

The report said the sex ratio at birth in Vietnam, according to the 2019 Census, is 111.5 boys born for every 100 girls, placing the country among the five lowest ranked countries in the world. A normal sex ratio at birth would be around 105 boys for every 100 girls, the report says.

Of all the regions in Vietnam, the Red River Delta has the highest sex ratio at birth with 115 boys for every 100 girls, while the Central Highlands has the lowest imbalance at 105 boys for every 100 girls. The localities with the highest sex ratio at birth (above 115) are clustered in northern Vietnam, namely Bac Giang, Hung Yen, Hai Duong, Bac Ninh, Hanoi and Son La, the report says.

Data from the 2019 Census revealed there were about 1.2 million more boys aged 0-19 than girls. The report says the gender imbalance in Vietnam’s adult population is unlikely to be alleviated over the next few decades, as most of the future adults have already been born.

The report attributes the high gender imbalance in Vietnam to both declining fertility rates and the availability of reproductive technologies. These factors, combined with Vietnam’s traditional preference for sons as a predominantly patriarchal society, have led to a rapid rise in prenatal sex-selective interventions to produce sons.

The report warns that the imbalance at birth will have a “long-lasting impact on the demographic structure of Vietnam,” where a future excess of men would lead to “marriage squeeze,” which in turn might heighten gender-based violence, including sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Vietnam will have around 1.5 million more men than women aged 15-49 by 2034 if the sex ratio imbalance remains unaddressed, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has warned.

By Phan Anh – – October 28, 2021

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