Social differences in sex preferences for children in France

Laurent Toulemon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Arnaud Régnier-Loilier, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Sex preferences for children may influence fertility behaviors in different ways. In France as in many developed countries, there is a marked preference for having at least one boy and one girl. The aim of this paper is Twofold. First, to check that no disequilibrium in the sex ratio at birth or in the sex structure of siblings is appearing in France. Second, to use the effect of sex composition of siblings on the progression to a next child to reveal sex preferences for children, and to describe the social contrasts in these preferences in France. A preliminary analysis on sex-ratio at birth by country of birth of the mother did not show any evidence of sex-selective abortion, but we still need to get access to data by birth order. No information on siblings is available in the civil registration data, but preliminary analyses based on a previous survey has shown that the progression to the third child is lower for couples with already one boy and one girl; among couples with two children of the same sex, farmers and self-employed prefer boys, while white-collar workers prefer girls. We will use three large data sources: French civil registration data, and two one-percent surveys conducted within the 1999 and 2011 population census, both including a fertility history of more than 230,000 women and 120,000 men. The first one has been used to build specific assumptions, which will be tested with the most recent one.

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Presented in Session 85: Family ideals and preferences