Prenatal Sex Selection after Migration: Evidences from Italy

Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Elena AMBROSETTI, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy
Livia Elisa ORTENSI, Bicocca University of Milan, Italy
Cinzia CASTAGNARO, Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (Istat), Italy
Marina ATTILI, Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (Istat), Italy
This study aims to explore sex ratio at birth (SRB) of migrants in Italy in order to shed light on the possible phenomenon of sex selection at birth. Recent studies addressed the same issue for migrants of Indian and Chinese origin living in Italy (Meldolesi, 2012; Blangiardo and Rimoldi, 2012). The study of Meldolesi was limited to the period of 2006-2009 and used data on birth records, while the latter study uses data from a 2011 survey of 700 women of Chinese and Indian origin in the Lombardy region.

Our objective is to go beyond these studies, analysing births from mothers with a foreign background, from countries where sex selection at birth is widespread and that are among the largest immigrant communities in Italy. The paper aims at assessing 1) if a skewed sex ratio at birth is observed among overseas communities; and 2) the possible factors affecting skewed SRB in the migratory context. When studying the phenomenon of sex selection before birth, it is important to stress that the SRB increases with birth order, as prenatal discrimination with first births is generally infrequent (Guilmoto, 2015). Prenatal sex selection is practiced for higher order births, while first and second births are often left to chance.

Preliminary results show that the sex ratio at birth is above the biological constant for the period 2005-2015 for births of Albanian, Chinese and Tunisian couples from the third child and Indian couples from the second child with a confidence interval of 95% above 105 (Ambrosetti, et al. 2017).

The study will proceed with a logistic regression model only for citizenship with imbalanced sex ratio at birth and with significant presence in Italian territory using different data sources linked together. The dependent variable is the sex of the new-born child.