Missing women in China and India over seven decades: an analysis of birth and mortality data from 1950 to 2020

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper constructs long-run estimates of total missing women (including missing girls at birth and excess female deaths) in China and India over seven decades from 1950 to 2020. We find that the number of missing women in India has been higher than in China throughout the seven decades. Over time, missing girls at birth grew faster in China than in India, but China has made more rapid progress in reducing excess female deaths after birth. While the share of missing girls at birth in total missing women has risen since the 1980s, there has also been a shift in excess female mortality from younger to older age groups. Our estimated trends are consistent with key economic, social, demographic and technological events and developments in the two countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1807-1830
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • China
  • gender discrimination
  • India
  • Missing women
  • sex ratio

Cite this