Every year, there are always more baby boys than girls born in England and Wales. Fact. Why?
Since records began in 1838, the cries of newborns born every year have been predominately male.
In not one year, stretching back to the start of Queen Victoria’s reign, have girls outnumbered sons at birth.
In 2017, in England and Wales, for example, there were 348,071 live male births and 331,035 live female births – a difference of approximately 17,000.
And that higher tally of males compared against females born each year is a pattern that has repeated itself for nearly 180 years.
In fact, a ratio of roughly 105 male births for every 100 female ones is generally seen as natural and normal.
It is fairly consistent around the world, although in some countries like China and India the gap is wider because male progeny are more desirable.
More astonishingly, it is a ratio that has been known about since the 17 th Century.
But why this ratio exists is not yet altogether understood – although there are several theories.
It’s all about evolution
The first theory is an evolutionary one which says that in order to have an equal number of males and female in adulthood, there have to be slightly more males born.
That is because being a male is a dangerous thing. Males are more likely than females to die in childhood and at all stages of life – from accidents, taking risks, suicide and from health problems.
“At every age, in almost every time and place, a man is more likely to die than a woman, ” says Prof David Steinsaltz, associate professor of statistics at the University of Oxford.