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Offspring Gender and Family Size: Implications from a Comparison of Mexican Americans and Anglo Americans

Charles H. Wood and Frank D. Bean
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Feb., 1977), pp. 129-139
DOI: 10.2307/351069
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351069
Page Count: 11
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Offspring Gender and Family Size: Implications from a Comparison of Mexican Americans and Anglo Americans
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Abstract

The questions of whether and how offspring gender preferences affect eventual family size assume greater proportions given recent technological developments in reproductive gender control and given the trend in the United States toward preferences for smaller families. Using 1970 U.S. Census Public Use Sample data for Anglos and Mexican Americans, this study examines the relationship between the gender of children already born and the likelihood of having subsequent children. The results indicate that couples with previous children of the same gender are consistently more likely to bear an additional child compared to those with a gender mix. Though present among members of both groups, this relationship is more pronounced among Anglos than Mexican Americans. The effects of wife's education on the likelihood of another birth are also examined and found to be greater among couples with a gender mix than among those with children of the same gender. The relevance of these findings to the issue of what kinds of wives opt to have fewer children are discussed, and the reasons why, ceteris paribus, the trend toward families of smaller sizes may heighten parental interest in the gender of early born children are noted.

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