Volume 17 - Article 6 | Pages 135-156

Understanding parental gender preferences in advanced societies: Lessons from Sweden and Finland

By Gunnar Andersson, Karsten Hank, Andres Vikat

Print this page  Send this article to a friend  Twitter

 

 
Date received:10 Jul 2006
Date published:12 Oct 2007
Word count:5022
Keywords:fertility, Finland, sex preferences, Sweden
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2007.17.6
 

Abstract

Extending recent research on parental gender preferences in the Nordic countries, this study uses unique register data from Finland and Sweden (1971-1999) that provide us with the opportunity to compare childbearing dynamics and possible underlying sex preferences among natives and national minorities, namely Finnish-born immigrants in Sweden and members of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. Moreover, our Swedish data allow us to investigate regional and educational differences in child-sex specific fertility behavior of two-child mothers in 1981-1999. For Finland, we observe a continuous boy preference among the national majority and the Swedish-speaking minority as reflected in higher third-birth rates of mothers of two girls than of mothers of two boys.
Evidence of similar preferences is found for Finnish-born migrants in Sweden, where the native-born population appears to have developed a girl preference, though. In all cases, we also observe clear indications of a preference for having at least one child of each sex. Generally speaking, our findings support an interpretation of parental gender preferences as a longstanding cultural phenomenon, related to country of childhood socialization rather than language group. Our analysis of regional and educational differentials in Sweden reveals no evidence which supports diffusion theories of persistence and change in parents’ sex preferences for children.

Author's Affiliation

Gunnar Andersson - Stockholm University, Sweden [Email]
Karsten Hank - University of Mannheim, Germany [Email]
Andres Vikat - UN Economic Commission for Europe, Switzerland [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Economic Uncertainty and Family Dynamics in Europe: Introduction
Volume 27 - Article 28

» Labor-market status, migrant status and first childbearing in Sweden
Volume 27 - Article 25

» High Suburban Fertility: Evidence from Four Northern European Countries
Volume 21 - Article 31

» Cohort Fertility Patterns in the Nordic Countries
Volume 20 - Article 14

» Childbearing dynamics of couples in a universalistic welfare state: The role of labor-market status, country of origin, and gender
Volume 17 - Article 30

» Fertility differences by housing type: The effect of housing conditions or of selective moves?
Volume 17 - Article 26

» Migration and first-time parenthood: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan
Volume 17 - Article 25

» Generations and Gender Survey (GGS): Towards a Better Understanding of Relationships and Processes in the Life Course
Volume 17 - Article 14

» Educational attainment and ultimate fertility among Swedish women born in 1955-59
Volume 14 - Article 16

» Education and childlessness: The relationship between educational field, educational level, and childlessness among Swedish women born in 1955-59
Volume 14 - Article 15

» Social differentials in speed-premium effects in childbearing in Sweden
Volume 14 - Article 4

» Demographic trends in Sweden: An update of childbearing and nuptiality up to 2002
Volume 11 - Article 4

» A summary of Special Collection 3: Contemporary Research on European Fertility: Perspectives and Developments
Volume 10 - Article 13

» Pathways to stepfamily formation in Europe: Results from the FFS
Volume 8 - Article 5

» The geographic context of male nuptiality in western Germany during the 1980s and 1990s
Volume 7 - Article 15

» Children's experience of family disruption and family formation: Evidence from 16 FFS countries
Volume 7 - Article 7

» Life-table representations of family dynamics in Sweden, Hungary, and 14 other FFS countries: A project of descriptions of demographic behavior
Volume 7 - Article 4

» Fertility developments in Norway and Sweden since the early 1960s
Volume 6 - Article 4

» Demographic trends in Sweden: Childbearing developments in 1961-2000, marriage and divorce developments in 1971-1999
Volume 5 - Article 3

» Changes in Swedish Women’s Individual Activity Status and the Subsequent Risk of Giving Birth in the 1980s and 1990s: An Extension of Studies by Gunnar Andersson and Britta Hoem
Volume 4 - Article 4

» Gender Preferences for Children in Europe: Empirical Results from 17 FFS Countries
Volume 2 - Article 1

» Contemporary Research on European Fertility: Introduction
Special Collection 3 - Article 1

» Childbearing Developments in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden from the 1970s to the 1990s: A Comparison
Special Collection 3 - Article 7

» Women’s Labor Force Attachment and Childbearing in Finland
Special Collection 3 - Article 8

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Domestic gender equality and childbearing in Sweden
Volume 29 - Article 40    | Keywords: fertility, Sweden

» Does his paycheck also matter?: The socioeconomic resources of co-residential partners and entry into parenthood in Finland
Volume 28 - Article 31    | Keywords: fertility, Finland

» Recent fertility patterns of Finnish women by union status: A descriptive account
Volume 28 - Article 14    | Keywords: fertility, Finland

» Labor-market status, migrant status and first childbearing in Sweden
Volume 27 - Article 25    | Keywords: fertility, Sweden

» Changes in educational differentials in old-age mortality in Finland and Sweden between 1971-1975 and 1996-2000
Volume 26 - Article 19    | Keywords: Finland, Sweden