A growing gender gap spells trouble for Asian markets, where scholars predict that a glut of men without partners—Chinese and Indian men will outnumber women by more than 20 million each in 2030—will have a cascade of unintended consequences, economic as well as social. Sexual violence and prostitution are predicted to spike; crime will rise and productivity decline, Bloomberg reports. Trafficking in mates would not be surprising.
Asian parents may pick boys over girls for economic reasons—they earn more money, they don’t need dowries—but "sex ratio imbalances only lead to far-reaching imbalances in society,” says a UN population expert. Now scholars are urging leaders to breach the gap before Asia's economies suffer. China is pledging “tough measures,” but is likely to be outmatched by improvements in pregnancy technology that make it even easier to abort girls, Bloomberg reports.