Skip to main content


sex-ratio Conventionally defined as the number of males per 1,000 females in the population of a society. More boys than girls are born each year, but the excess number of males at birth is gradually reduced by the higher male mortality rate, to an age-point where the number of women begins to exceed the number of men. In most countries, the overall sex-ratio is below 1,000, with women outnumbering men. However, since the Second World War the sex-ratio has been rising in many Western industrial societies, so that the excess of females is now confined to older age-groups. In Britain, for example, the cross-over point rose from age 25 in 1901–10 to age 47 in 1930–2 and to age 57 years in 1980–2. Due to improvements in health care, and the (relative) absence of wars, men now outnumber women for most of their lives in many countries. Other factors affecting the sex-ratio are sex-selective migration patterns, and the female infanticide practised in countries where females are treated as socially inferior.

The sex-ratio is regarded as an important social indicator. It affects marriage rates, women's labour-market participation rates, and (it has been argued) sex roles.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sex-ratio." A Dictionary of Sociology. . 16 Jul. 2019 <>.

"sex-ratio." A Dictionary of Sociology. . (July 16, 2019).

"sex-ratio." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Retrieved July 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.