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Consequences of Son Preference in a Low-Fertility Society: Imbalance of the Sex Ratio at Birth in Korea

Chai Bin Park and Nam-Hoon Cho
Population and Development Review
Vol. 21, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 59-84
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/2137413
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137413
Page Count: 26
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Consequences of Son Preference in a Low-Fertility Society: Imbalance of the Sex Ratio at Birth in Korea
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Abstract

Many demographers and population planners have considered son preference in Asian countries to be a major barrier to reducing fertility. Some of these countries, such as South Korea and China, however, have recently achieved replacement-level fertility, in spite of their strong adherence to son preference. By use of sex-selective abortion and other means, the sex ratio at birth in these countries has been changed at three levels: in the population at large, between families, and within families. At the population level a rising sex ratio has been recorded; at the between-family level an inverse relationship between sex ratio and family size has been observed; and at the within-family level a rapidly rising sex ratio with birth order has been noted. This article presents empirical evidence of these changes and discusses their implications, focusing on the situation in Korea.

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