Sex ratios in old age: Comparing Countries in Middle Eastern Asia to East and Southeast Asia

Sehar Ezdi & Harald Künemund


This chapter analyses the elderly missing women phenomenon – masculinized sex ratios in the elderly population – in countries of Middle Eastern Asia and East and Southeast Asia. While many studies have explored the missing women phenomenon in East and Southeast Asia, Middle Eastern Asia, where the extent of the female deficit is worse, is mostly neglected. Further, even in East and Southeast Asia the problem has been mostly studied at young ages. Countries forming both regions display different facets of the elderly missing women phenomenon with some countries displaying it as a cohort effect only (e.g. Malaysia in Southeast Asia and Lebanon in Middle Eastern Asia) while others exhibit it in the total population as well (e.g. China in East Asia and Qatar in Middle Eastern Asia). This chapter further shows that in light of the rapid demographic transition, it is imperative to change the focus of this issue from younger to older age groups in East and Southeast Asia and to place greater emphasis on studying the phenomenon in Middle Eastern Asia.

Keywords: Sex ratios, female deficit, elderly missing women, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle Eastern Asia

Published in Studies in Sociology of Population