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Open Access Open Badges Original article

Missing women in the United Kingdom

Adamos Adamou1, Christina Drakos2 and Sriya Iyer3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Cyprus, P.O. Box 20537, CY-1678 Nicosia, Cyprus

2 Merrill Lynch, Merrill Lynch Financial Centre, 2 King Edward Street, London EC1A 1HQ, United Kingdom

3 Faculty of Economics and St. Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge and IZA, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DD, United Kingdom

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IZA Journal of Migration 2013, 2:10  doi:10.1186/2193-9039-2-10

Published: 25 June 2013


This paper investigates the gender-selection decisions of immigrants in the United Kingdom, using data from the 1971–2006 General Household Survey. We examine sex-selection in the UK among immigrant families and the gender composition of previous births, conditional on socio-economic characteristics. Our key result is that better-educated immigrants balance their family after the birth of two sons, by having a daughter thereafter. Our study also is the first to estimate the number of missing women among Asian immigrants in a European country, contributing to research on the US and Canada that missing women are also a phenomenon of the developed world.

J13, J15, O52, Z13

Sex-selection; Gender bias; UK