Journal Article

Gender preferences for children in Europe: empirical results from 17 FFS countries

Hank, K., Kohler, H.-P.
Demographic Research, 2:1 (2000)


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 find some unexpected indication for a girl preference in the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Portugal. Because socioeconomic conditions and family policies in Europe, which are important factors in explaining different fertility levels, are not related to a specific gender of children, we suggest that sociocultural factors should be regarded as important determinants of different gender preferences. (MAX PLANCK SOCIETY)
Keywords: fertility, sex preference
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