NFHS: Does India Really Have More Women Than Men?

Does India really have more women than men now?

According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data, released by the Indian government recently, there are now 1,020 women for every 1,000 men.

Experts advise caution while interpreting the data - the survey covers only about 630,000 of India's 300 million households - and say the real picture will emerge only once we get the census data.

"The census surveys the entire population of the country and, therefore, provides a more accurate account of the overall sex ratio," the director of the Population Fund of India, Poonam Muttreja, told the BBC.

But the numbers have made headlines in India, with some claiming that they point to significant societal shifts in a country where a preference for sons has historically led to a very skewed sex ratio in favour of men.

The health ministry said this was the first time ever that the female population had surpassed the male population in India. One official said this was due to the "measures taken by the government for women's empowerment".

Media reports hailed it as a "massive achievement" and "a demographic shift". One journalist wrote that India had "now entered the league of developed nations".

But campaigners say the numbers just don't add up and describe the government claim as "absurd" and "next to impossible".



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