Volume 2 - Article 1

Gender Preferences for Children in Europe: Empirical Results from 17 FFS Countries

By Karsten Hank, Hans-Peter Kohler

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Date received:06 Dec 1999
Date published:25 Jan 2000
Word count:3136
Keywords:crossnational analysis, fertility, gender preferences
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2000.2.1
 

Abstract

Gender preferences may have substantial implications for a couple’s fertility behavior. However, there is only limited empirical research investigating this subject in modern Western societies. In this paper, data from the Fertility and Family Surveys are used to compare 17 European countries with respect to their gender preferences for children. Despite substantial regional heterogeneity across Europe, our results show a strong tendency towards a preference for a mixed sex composition (if there is any preference at all).
However, we found some unexpected indication for a girl preference in the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Portugal. Because socioeconomic conditions and family policies, which are important factors in explaining different fertility levels, are not related to a specific gender of children, we argue that cultural factors are of major importance for different gender preferences.

Author's Affiliation

Karsten Hank - University of Mannheim, Germany [Email]
Hans-Peter Kohler - University of Pennsylvania, United States of America [Email]

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