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Economy

Asia's gender imbalance is bad news for growth

From a lack of brides to economic efficiency, why too many men can mean trouble

A female face is hard to find on this crowded Delhi street. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

There is an unsettling statistic that bodes ill for Asia: The region has roughly 100 million more men than women, with the biggest gulfs seen in China and India. In some places, however, the imbalance skews the other way. In either case, the gender gap is causing problems, ranging from economic inefficiency to fewer marriages to more violent crime -- all of which makes it harder for Asia to keep its impressive growth on an even keel.

Jhajjar looks much like any other rural area in India -- groups of people sitting together on dusty roadsides as cars and motorcycles pass by, rows of small shops and street stalls lining the central area. But this district, located 50km west of New Delhi in Haryana State, has long been infamous for one thing: Its unnaturally high ratio of male births.

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