HEFEI, June 3 (Xinhua) -- The annual male-female birth ratio in China slightly narrowed by 1.11 points to 119.45 boys born for every 100 girls last year, the first drop since 2006, a population official said Thursday.
The figure indicated the ratio of males to females was about 119 to 100 and the widening gender gap was slowing, Li Bin, director of China's Population and Family Planning Commission, told a work conference on taking care of girls and sex divergence in Hefei, capital of Anhui Province, in east China.
China has seen the sex ratio at birth increasing since the 1980s and it was recorded as high as 130 males for every 100 females in some provinces.
Chinese traditionally hold a preference for male heirs, especially in rural areas.
Li called on authorities to continue to strive to close the gap as it still seriously deviated from the normal range of 103 males to 107 females.
In industrialized countries, the ratio is 100 to 107.