Sex Composition of Children and the Third Birth: The Persistence of Parental Gender Preference

Felicia Feng Tian, Fudan University
S. Philip Morgan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Pollard and Morgan (2002) predict the parental mixed-sex preference will vanish and be replaced by an ideology of gender indifference. This analysis replicates and extends Pollard and Morgan (2002), using four waves of data from National Survey of Family Growth to trace the changes in the association between the sex composition of previous two children and the third birth in the United States. Results from the third birth intention show that the difference of the probability of wanting another child between parents with same-sex children and parents with mixed-sex children sharply declines toward zero since in the late 1990s. A similar pattern is also found in the analysis of third birth behavior, but is much clearer if we use data for only white parents. Overall, this evidence provides additional support for Pollard and Morgan’s (2002) prediction of an emerging gender indifference among American parents.

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Presented in Session 124: Interaction of Family and Economic Processes