India was listed in a 2009 UNICEF report as containing the world’s largest population of homeless children. The same report claims this number continues to grow at an alarming rate. Parents unable to pay for their support abandon many of these children. Given the cultural stigma against girls as desirable offspring, girls in particular are subject to abandonment.
Many Indian families consider boys more valuable than girls because boys are more likely to support their parents in old age and to bring home a wife to help with housework. On the other hand, families with female children must pay a dowry fee to another family and host an expensive wedding. These traditional cultural mores add to a significant number of orphaned young girls.