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City's sex ratio drops, population grows

SHANGHAI'S sex ratio dropped for the first time in eight years last year, the city's family planning authority announced today. The city's population is expected to exceed 19 million this year.

The birth sex ratio among permanent residents, including people with registered residency and those living in the city for more than half the year, was 114.8 in 2008, down from 115.2 in 2007. That means that for every 100 girls born, 114 boys were born.

The decrease came after the sex ratio among the mobile population of Shanghai fell by 1.5 from 2007, the most of any of the three categories (permanent, registered and mobile residents) listed by the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission.

The Shanghai municipal government has issued several preferential policies, including offering extra subsidies and more training opportunities for young girls, to encourage rural and migrant people to raise girls. In China's rural areas, people prefer boys to girls and some Chinese women, out of tradition, often choose to abort after learning they are carrying female fetuses.

The sex ratio of the registered residency group also declined last year by 1.2 from the previous year.

"It is the first time that the sex ratio has gone down in Shanghai since 2000," said the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission.

The number of the city's permanent residents is expected to reach 19.10 million, about 200,000 more than 2008, and 170,000 new babies are expected, for a birth rate of 0.9 percent, almost same as last year.


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