The Securtiy Threat of Asia's Sex Ratios


den Boer, Andrea, and Valerie Hudson. 2004. “The Securtiy Threat of Asia’s Sex Ratios.” SAIS Review of International Affairs 24 (2): 27–43. doi:10.1353/sais.2004.0028.


“Security demographics" has become a new subfield of security studies in recent years as scholars envision the security implications of long-term demographic change. This subfield provides important new insight into the problem of population, social stability and conflict, but our research suggests that an additional demographic factor must be taken into account when assessing social stability and security of a state - that of sex ratios. What are the security implications for a population whose males, particularly those of the young adult population, significantly outnumber females? China and India, as well as several other Asian states, are currently undergoing various demographic transitions, one of the most important being the increasingly high sex ratios of young segments of these populations. We argue that internal instability is heightened in nations displaying the high level of exaggerated gender inequality indicated by high sex ratios, leading to an altered security calculus for the state. Possibilities of meaningful democracy and peaceful foreign policy are diminished as a result. The high sex ratios in China and India in particular have implications for the long-term security of these nations and the Asian region more broadly. 

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Security Regions: Asia, East Asia, South Asia Countries: China, India

Year: 2004

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