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German media has reported that a village in Poland has had only girls born for the last decade:

The head of the parish promises a reward, the Catholic village priest asks for God's help: In the Polish village of 300 souls, Mistitz, no boys have been born for almost ten years.

Source: "Mistitz in Polen – Dorf ohne Jungen", tagesschau Stand: 17.08.2019 11:43

How is that possible that there are no boys born? Statistically, it seems to me to be nearly impossible. Is this real, or is it a publicity gag or something else?

English media has also reported on the village: "Girls only: Tiny Polish village of 300 people waits for first birth of a boy for nearly a DECADE", Daily Mail

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    For most of us that can't understand German, could you please flesh out some details and a clear-cut verifiable claim from the article? And of course it'd be near impossible, raising suspicion, but not impossible. – M.A.R. Aug 18 at 17:27
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    Is it statistically impossible? With my German, I couldn't find the number of births anywhere in the article. But the village population seems to be 300. So I'd guess at 25 kids, all female. The odds of that happening by chance in any one village is 1 in 2^25 or 1 in 33 million. But there are a couple of million villages in the world, so the odds of one somewhere with 25 consecutive female births is about 1 in 15 - and if there is one, that is the one that makes the news. Unlikely, but not impossible. And if in fact there have only been 20 births the odds are more like 1 in 2. – Jack B Aug 18 at 17:37
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    This sounds like barn door statistics! – Strawberry Aug 19 at 8:56
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    There is a remote village on La Gomera where -- according to official birth records based on self-reporting -- no boys were born for decades. Note that boys will be drafted to the army ;-). I'd also not be surprised if the average life expectancy of old people who receive pensions were above average ;-). – Peter A. Schneider Aug 19 at 9:47
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    @JackB as discovered in answers, the total number of births was only 12. – OrangeDog Aug 19 at 9:50
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Support for the claim appears to rest on explicit birth records, although interviews with families in the village were also conducted. The New York Post writes (emphasis mine)

According to birth records, there hasn’t been a boy born there since 2009, though 12 girls have come into the world in that time frame.

I did some digging and was unable to access said records (not wholly surprising, I suppose), or more details on them. It appears that media conducted interviews with families in the area to back this up; the Post's phrasing is ambiguous, but it indicates that boys in general are less common in the town:

Most family interviewed by the press reported having daughters, often more than one.

The Associated Press cites Krystyna Zydziak, the "community head", as saying that ten girls have been born since 2010; the media also talked with various village and local officials, including the county mayor.

Now, the crux of my answer - aside from indicating the likely veracity of the claim - is that none of this should be overly surprising. The village is small (current population 272, according to the New York Times), and therefore there have only been a small number of births in the last decade (12, according to the Post and other media, e.g. Today and Fox News).

If the chance of a baby being a boy and the chance of a baby being a girl are equal, then the odds of 12 consecutive births all yielding girls is (1/2)12 = 0.0244%. That's small, but when you consider that there are many towns and villages in the world, it shouldn't be surprising that at some point, just from randomness, 12 girls are born in a row in a given town. The odds of the same thing happening with 12 boys (which would also be widely reported) are identical, so the odds of 12 consecutive babies having the same sex is 0.0488%. (The Daily Mail notes that in 2017, 207,000 boys were born in Poland, as were 196,000 girls, making the odds slightly lower.)

Of course, more than randomness could be at play; environmental or cultural factors could be responsible. It's possible that maternal diet pre-conception (not post-conception, of course) can play a role. Several studies have claimed that the sex of a child can slightly be influenced by dietary factors:

That said, these results are contentious and not well-supported. I mention them only because the Daily Mail article you mentioned wrote that scientists "have offered to conduct research to investigate the unique situation", and perhaps any environmental factors will be turned up if that research happens.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Sklivvz Aug 25 at 9:14
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Generally if such statistics would exist, they would be available to every Polish citizen per freedom of information act. Alas, there are no such statistics in Poland. While the claim might be true, citing birth records is a sure sign of a fake. I know well which sources are available and who can get it, because I've worked for years as a reporter in Poland. I've processed statistical data about Polish cities and villages and often worked with freedom of information requests. In fact I have friends who tried to get exact statistics (i.e. sex) for Poland and it turned out impossible - there are no current statistics and the existing statistics are for bigger administrative divisions.

The more detailed answer:

  1. I couldn't find reliable information about parish or priest offering a reward. The head of the gmina (higher administrative division, just above the village or, to be precise - above sołectwo) - Rajmund Frischko - promises the reward. Also he asked experts (mainly in the genetics field) for help, not God. Some experts already promised to investigate this case[1], but it won't help much, because...

  2. The statistics aren't clear - in Poland de facto the official "home address" doesn't have to be accurate; there's a law forbidding such case, but it's a dead law - at least for now. Birth records don't show reality, with that dead law many people live in a different place than it shows up in registers or in the id card. But even if somehow real address would always fit the official one then...

  3. There are no official statistics for the claims of the press. Sex statistics are officially available only for higher administrative divisions (i.e. gmina) and the last published statistics are from 2014 - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2d/Piramida_wieku_Gmina_Cisek.png - the blue bars are women, black are men. That's the only reliable data so far.
  4. As it's not a job of sołtys (head of the village) or wójt (head of the gmina) to process such statistics, so they also don't have a way to be sure except rumors.
  5. Even the population of the village given in the Internet is a rumor. The last statistics are from 2007 (328 people). There weren't any publications about that village in 2016, so press made that up.[3]

Sources and notes:

[1] https://wiadomosci.wp.pl/plec-dziecka-we-wsi-miejsce-odrzanskie-rodza-sie-same-dziewczynki-chlopiec-byl-ale-9-lat-temu-6404238660814465a

[2] https://stat.gov.pl/obszary-tematyczne/ludnosc/ludnosc/ludnosc-w-gminach-wedlug-stanu-w-dniu-31-12-2011-r-bilans-opracowany-w-oparciu-o-wyniki-nsp-2011,2,1.html

[3] there are a lot of databases which probably use some statistical methods or user input - they are mostly incorrect - either coordinates, population etc. It feels like "we don't have data, but we want it, so let's put something random here". The only reliable data is on https://stat.gov.pl/obszary-tematyczne/ludnosc/ludnosc/

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    For those of us who can't read Polish, would you mind adding in English translations of quotes from the sources you link to? I'm slightly doubtful of your claim that the New York Times is making up numbers, but I should probably read your sources before thinking about that - but I can't, as I don't speak Polish. :-/ – HDE 226868 Aug 19 at 13:03
  • The way the birth certificates are made in Poland is that depending on where the child was born, the hospital will send the birth notification to the civil office in the same "gmina" it belongs to. Then that civil office will prepare the birth certificate - obywatel.gov.pl/dzieci/… (cont) – Maurycy Aug 19 at 22:14
  • The birth certificate has no address field for the baby or the parents, only the name of the city where the child was born [1], so you'd have to cross reference the list of birth certificates with the list of people "registered" to be living in a given city, and as Krzysiu has mentioned, you're not required to live where you're "registered". Thus you can't get a complete list of all the babies born to people who at the moment lived in a given town, you can only get an approximate. [1] obywatel.gov.pl/malzenstwo/… – Maurycy Aug 19 at 22:20
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    Re point 4: In a village of 300, it can be presumed that all is known by everyone and neither statistics nor (regarding the topic of recent child births) rumor – Hagen von Eitzen Aug 20 at 6:22
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    @HDE226868, the New York Times didn’t print that—it was a tabloid called New York Post. Besides, the Times might not make things up, but I have seen evidence lately that “respected” outlets no longer have scruples against quoting nonsense without checking. – WGroleau Aug 20 at 19:40

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