Missing Women in the Middle East?

I have heard a lot about growing gender imbalances in India and China, with many more men than women. I understand that aggregate statistics can hide vast regional variations, but I was surprised when I saw here that in 2005, both and China India had 95 women per 100 men.

(By way of comparison, Canada has 102, and the US has 103.)

The real shortages are in the Middle East: Bahrain has 76 women per 100 men; Kuwait has 67, Quatar only 48!

What’s going on?

Are the statistics flawed? Are women being eliminated in large numbers? Are women fleeing the area in large numbers?

Why do we hear so much more about China and India than about this?

Also interestingly, the only other area where most countries have fewer women than men is the South Pacific Islands. Interesting. May just be because their population numbers are so small to begin with. (In 2002, Palau, for instance, had 9 women and 11 men.)

I love statistics.

I believe these countries all have a large number of “guest workers”. They’re (almost exclusively) men from poorer countries such as the Philippines and Sri Lanka who come to work in the host countries for a time before returning to their home lands. Among the native population of Bahrain or the others, the imbalance isn’t nearly so pronounced.

Wouldn’t the numbers from Philippines and Sri Lanka then be correspondingly unbalanced?

Also, I know that the Philippines sends out quite a lot of guest workers of both genders, so maybe that evens out.

I note that the overall average from those numbers is 100.93, which seems consistent with what I was expecting, although I thought there would be more women.

Look at the total populations, and you’ll realise that a big imbalance in one small middle eastern state would equate to a negligible effect on a larger country:

Philippines: 83m
Sri Lanka: 21m

Kuwait: 2.7m
Qatar: 813,000
Bahrain: 727,000

Or to put it another way: even if every woman in Qatar moved to the Philippes, it would change the latter’s gender ratio by a tiny amount.