Preference for Boys Leaves Many Men on the Shelf

A man born in the auspicious Year of the White Horse in 1990 recently posted a message on a popular Internet forum warning that superstitions and the preference for baby boys only lead to misery for them later in life.

"Your preference for sons ends up creating men who have little chance of finding a mate," the man wrote.

The year 1990 was when the ratio of baby boys was the highest since Korea started gathering childbirth data in 1970, with 116 boys for every 100 girls.

The normal gender ratio is 103 to 107 boys for every 100 girls. When the ratio surpasses 110, it gets harder for men to find a mate.

The reason behind the high proportion of boys born in 1990 stems from a superstition that children born under the sign of the White Horse are stubborn and face a tough life. That meant the chances were high of baby girls being aborted.

In 1978, the ratio of baby boys stood at 111.3 for every 100 girls, and the pattern repeated itself in 2002, when it was 110. However, ultrasound to determine the gender of fetuses was less common in 1978, while in 2002 the traditional preference for boys had eased significantly, leaving 1990 as the year with the biggest imbalance due to superstition.

Another problem is that when the time comes for men born in 1990 to marry and have children, the country's birthrate will decline once again due to the relative shortage of women in that age group.

"Men living in rural farming communities have to find brides in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world, so a large proportion of men born in 1990 will have to turn to international marriage as an option," Jeon Kwang-hee at Chungnam National University said.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 15, 2014 08:11 KST