MPIDR Working Paper

Parental gender indifference or persistent sex preferences for children at the turn to the 21st century? A reflection on Pollard and Morgan (2002) with reference to the Swedish case

Hank, K., Andersson, G.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2002-049, 10 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (October 2002)
Open Access


In their recent ASR article on the sex composition of previous offspring and third births in the US, Pollard and Morgan (2002) argue that changes in the societal gender system - namely increasing opportunities for women - have lead to a decreasing effect of children´s gender on parents´ fertility decisions. If the authors were right in their conclusions, one should expect to find no sex preferences for children in countries with a high level of gender equality. In this reflection, we exploit population register data for the years 1961 to 1999 to examine the Swedish example. Our results show that even in the fairly gender equal Swedish society, a clear preference for one child of each sex has continued to exist until today.
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.