As opportunities have continued to increase for Woman in America, the preference of having a son instead of a daughter has decreased, according to continuing research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The research indicates that couples who now have a female child first are less likely to conceive again in the hopes of also having a son.
Speaking to the New York Times, Dan Clawson, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts explains what is happening. “There’s been a much more complete gender revolution for women than for men,” said Clawson. “If I’m raising a daughter, I’m raising someone who can challenge conventions, and that’s an attraction. On the other hand, if I’m raising a boy, am I raising someone who’s going to get in trouble, who won’t do well in school and so on?”
Times Are Changing
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Examining Gallup polls from 1941 to 2011 there was clear favoritism for conceiving a son. During 70 years of polling, 40% of respondents said they would rather have a boy if they could only have one child while 28% preferred a girl. The rest of the respondents said they didn’t have a preference.
The Gallup polls worked in hypotheticals but the new paper tracked gender biases based on actual choices parents decided to make after having their first child. Researchers examined records from the American Community Survey from 2008 to 2013.
Previous research suggested that parents were more likely to have a second child after having a girl or to “try for a boy.” Today, research is showing that couples are now less likely to have more kids after having a daughter.
More Work To Be Done
The paper is still a work in progress and has not yet been peer-reviewed. It was noted that families are getting smaller in general which could be skewing numbers after a first child is born.
Still, further supplemental data has shown that parents choosing to adopt are also picking more girls these days.
“The economic trends are pretty clear,” Enrico Moretti, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, explained to The New York Times. “Women are more involved in the labor force, and less skilled men are less involved, and women are getting more educated and men are not.”
More research is still needed but on the surface, it appears like gender preference is quickly disappearing, a positive sign for something that should never have been a consideration in the first place.