Last week during dinner, a friend asked everyone to guess the ratio between baby boys and girls in China during the peak years of the one child policy
. We all guessed in the low 1.x's. After a hint that the number is higher, a few increased their guesses to three or four. My friend told us that the answer is 1,200 according to a study
done by Columbia Univeristy. Yes, 1,200 boys for every girl! I couldn't believe it. For the ratio to be that high, 1,199 of the 1,200 women having a girl needed to somehow terminate it. It sounds so crazy. I could imagine a small village in a random place being like this, but I cannot believe it for a country as large as China. The law of large numbers will catch up to you. Since 1/6th of the world's population is Chinese, this unbalanced ratio would have huge global implications. I had to find the article and see for myself.
Luckily, another friend beat me to it. Read the numbers above carefully. In America, a comma is used between every three digits to make it easier to read and a period is used as the "decimal point". Well, in some other countries, it's the other way around
. So the ratio is really "one and two tenth" (as most of us guessed correctly).