Educational gradient in parental preference for girls in the Czech Republic

Kryštof Zeman, Vienna Institute of Demography

In traditional societies parents usually preferred sons to daughters. Hank and Kohler (2000) found evidence for preference for girls in some countries of Europe, including the Czech Republic. While they used the FFS data, we use much more numerous data from the birth register of the Czech Statistical Office. All first births in 1986-2007 were linked to second and third births of the same mother. We observe, using proportional hazards model, whether the relative risk of having second and third child is higher for parents of boys or girls. We hypothesize that if there is change towards preference for girls, than this will be found more intensely among higher educated mothers, and in more recent period. Our results indicate moderate evidence for preference for girls: The relative risk of having second child is slightly (by 1-3%) elevated for parents of one boy, especially among higher educated mothers and in more recent periods. The relative risk of having third child is significantly higher for parents of two boys or two girls vs. mixed sex, indicating the strong preference for kids of mixed sex. Moreover, the relative risk is higher for mothers of two boys vs. two girls. This effect increases with the education of mother, and also with the more recent period – while not significant before 1991, it becomes significant after 2000 (by 12% higher risk of having third child for university educated mothers of two boys). Our interpretation is that the spread of fertility control and the drop of fertility intensity in last two decades led to increasing selectivity among higher educated mothers: While low educated mothers do not show any preference for sex composition of children, higher educated mothers are more likely to proceed to higher parity only when their offspring sex preferences are not yet fulfilled.

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Presented in Poster Session 1