Abortion due to unwanted sex of the child in Georgia attracted the attention of the international community. As published in a 2013 article in the publication The Economist and appeared in 2015, the UN report, the problem with selective abortions in Georgia is more acute than in most other countries of the world. But a more detailed analysis of the data indicates that the situation is actually not as bleak as it seems.

In the first study, by drawing attention to the problem of abortion due to unwanted sex of the child in Transcaucasia, to measure the scale of the problem we use official statistical data of the world health organization (who). The researchers came to the conclusion that in the years 2005-2009 at the 100 baby girls in Georgia accounted for an average of 121 the boy.

Usually considered the natural ratio is 105 boys to 100 girls or 95.2 girls per 100 boys. The difference between the natural and the actual ratios in favour of boys is generally considered a symptom of abortion due to unwanted sex of the child. According to the aforementioned study, in Georgia, this problem is supposedly sharper than in most countries of the world.

But now it turns out that due to incomplete data, errors in rounding and abnormally large number of male babies in 2008, in the original article the ratio of boys to girls in Georgia was high. In the source material stated the average ratio in 2005-2009 was actually average for 2005 and 2008. Martin McKee, one of the authors of the original research, said: “the Index of 121 boy 100 baby girls in Georgia in 2005-2009 were calculated on the basis of data provided by who, but data for several years were absent”.

Missing data greatly influenced the conclusions in the original article. In 2008 was born an unusually high number of male babies — an average of 128 boys to 100 girls. In 2005, the ratio of boys to girls was 113 to 100, which is also very high for Georgia. The average for these two years is 120 boys to 100 girls.

On the question of why the original study was mentioned 121 the boy, not 120, McKee acknowledged that “when rounding has been a small error”.

In the analysis of the full data for 2005-2009, the average for this period drops from 120 to 113 boys per 100 girls, and if to exclude from calculations of the anomalous 2008, the figure drops to 110 boys to 100 newborn female.

If you analyse the statistics, comparing the ratio of girls to 100 boys, then the average in 2005-2009 stood at 91, but if we exclude the data for 2008, the ratio dropped to 88.

When counting the number of “missing” girls, i.e. children who would be born, but not born, when you analyze the official data to take the number of girls born to the number expected during pregnancy girls, it turns out that for every 100 boys are born with a 4.2 “missing” girls, if you do not include in the calculations the data for 2008. And for the entire period from 2005 to 2009, the average number of “missing” girls is almost of 6.74.

What exactly was the reason for the unusual than in 2008, is unknown. Although higher than the natural indicators ratio of boys to girls is often explained by abortion due to unwanted sex of the unborn child and murder of infants, a comparison of the number of “missing” girls to the number of abortions carried out during this period indicates that the situation could have been affected by some other factors.

If you divide the number of “missing” girls on the number of abortions in a given year, the resulting figure is an estimate of the proportion of abortions that would occur due to unwanted sex of the child, to explain the imbalance in the ratio of the number of boys and girls. If you follow this logic, then abortion because of the sex of the child were to grow from 6% in 2007 to 24% in 2008, i.e. to soar by 300 per cent. Of course, all this is assuming that there has been significant increase in the share of unregistered abortions, and if such an increase took place, the fact that most of these abortions were not selective.

Calculations point to three possible scenarios: (1) in 2008 there was a significant growth of selective abortions, (2) there has been a significant increase in the share of unregistered abortions, and the majority of these abortions was selective, and (3) the cause of the abnormal performance in 2008 was some other factor.

The third scenario includes a number of different options. In particular, given the difficult situation with data collected at the municipal level in Georgia, the anomalies can be explained by the errors in the documentation.

But one thing is clear: the problem with selective abortions in Georgia is not as prevalent as stated.

This does not mean that there is no problem. In 2015, the indicator of “missing” girls were up 4 per 100 boys.

But the realization of the scale of the problem is the first step to its solution.