Sex Ratio at Birth, Polygyny, and Fertility: A Cross-National Study

Social Biology Vol/Iss. 51(1-2) Taylor & Francis Published In Pages: 71-77
By Barber, Nigel


This article discusses the variation in sex ratios at birth among human populations and the possible explanations for this variation. One possible explanation is the timing of intercourse and its relationship to the frequency of intercourse, which can affect the timing of conception. The article presents evidence that the male/female sex ratios of 148 countries declined with total fertility rates and polygyny intensity and increased with contraception use in correlational analysis. These results were independent of mother's age and level of economic development. The predictive effect of polygyny and contraception disappeared when total fertility was added to the equation. The article also considers other possible explanations for the variation in sex ratios, such as genetics, hormones, nutrition, and social factors.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Barber (2002)Researcher's ownPolygyny intensity, economic data, and demography

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