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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 July 2010

EHESS and INED, Paris, France
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany
IRD and Institut Pasteur, Paris, France


Sex ratios at birth are known to change during wars or shortly after. This study investigated changes in sex ratios during the civil war that occurred in Tajikistan after the dismantling of the Soviet Union. This civil war was particularly bloody and long lasting, and had many demographic consequences. According to vital registration data, some 27,000 persons died in excess of previous trends during the civil war period (1992–1997), and total mortality was sometimes estimated to be three times higher by independent observers. Birth rates dropped markedly during the war, and sex ratios at birth increased significantly from 104.6 before the war to 106.9 during the war, to return to baseline values afterwards. The change in sex ratio is investigated according to demographic evidence (migration, delayed marriage, spouse separation), substantiated with qualitative evidence (difficulties with food supply), and compared with patterns found in Europe during World War II, as well as with recent wars in the Middle East.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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