A statistical analysis of the effect of warfare on the human secondary sex ratio

Hum Biol. 2000 Jun;72(3):433-45.


Many factors have been hypothesized to affect the human secondary sex ratio (the annual percentage of males among all live births), among them race, parental ages, and birth order. Some authors have even proposed warfare as a factor influencing live birth sex ratios. The hypothesis that during and shortly after periods of war the human secondary sex ratio is higher has received little statistical treatment. In this paper we evaluate the war hypothesis using 3 statistical methods: linear regression, randomization, and time-series analysis. Live birth data from 10 different countries were included. Although we cannot speak of a general phenomenon, statistical evidence for an association between warfare and live birth sex ratio was found for several countries. Regression and randomization test results were in agreement. Time-series analysis showed that most human sex-ratio time series can be described by a common model. The results obtained using intervention models differed somewhat from results obtained by regression methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Rate / trends*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Ratio*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Warfare*