MPIDR Working Paper

Gender preferences for children revisited: new evidence from Germany

Hank, K., Kohler, H.-P.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2002-017, 24 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (May 2002)
Also published in: Population: Édition Française 58, 139-150 (2003) and Population: English Edition 58, 133-144 (2003)
Open Access


Empirical research investigating gender preferences for children and their implications for fertility decisions in advanced industrial societies is relatively scarce. Recent studies on this matter have presented ambiguous evidence regarding the existence as well as the direction such preferences can take. We use data from the most recent German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) to analyse determinants of the preferred sex composition of prospective offspring as well as the influence of the sex of previous children on the respondent´s fertility intentions and their actual behaviour at different parities. We find that the socio-demographic determinants of gender preferences differ when childless respondents are compared with parents, and that boys are preferred as a first child. Although an ultimate sex composition that includes at least one son and one daughter is generally favoured, there is no evidence for a behaviourally relevant gender preference in Germany, when higher parities are considered.
Keywords: Germany, fertility, sex preference
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