This increase in the sex ratio is driven largely by births in China, where sex ratios have declined slightly in recent years but remain the highest in the world.
The world’s most populous country has 118 boys for every 100 girls, and accounts for 12% of births worldwide.
Starting in 1922, it focuses initially on Vivien, a plain but intelligent, 24-year-old singleton, who, at nearly 6ft tall, is known unkindly by her family as "the giantess".
Both men and women may have suffered as feminism has evolved, she reflects."Feminism has made us all go out to work and made us earn a living, and the male wage is no longer, because of feminism, able to support a family, so women have to work, which is very tiring."Because we stuck up for freedom, but freedom had its disadvantages.Because we won the revolution, the revolution has a fall-out and we suffer from that, but on the whole, I think what was earned was a good thing."Feminism has certainly undermined men," she continues, "if only because women now want to have girl babies, not boy babies, because their lot in life is better."But women can't have it all, she adds."I think you can have two out of three - the three being a family, a career and a love life - but very seldom three.But this is only one of myriad factors that may be affecting the sex ratio at birth.
Some research suggests that the share of newborn boys declines with older parents, and that the high share of girls in Sub-Saharan Africa may be linked to the practice of polygamy (multiple wives). Researchers hypothesize that both situations are associated with less frequent intercourse.
While there are still slightly more boys born than girls in these places — which are centered in sub-Saharan Africa — the sex ratios are nonetheless much lower than average.
The six countries with the lowest sex ratios include: Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Togo, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, and Madagascar.
So what explains these differences in the shares of baby boys and girls?
Perhaps the best-known reason relates to the practice of sex-selective abortion, which has been identified in Asia, and in the Caucasus, as well.
The ability to determine fetal sex, along with strong son preferences, accounts in large part for the high shares of boys in many countries in these regions.