The role of the previous offspring’s sex composition in the transition to the third child among Indian mothers born between 1966-1985

Eleonora Trappolini, University of Milan-Bicocca
Patrizia Farina, University Milan Bicocca
Laura Terzera, Università degli Studi di Milano - Bicocca

In many societies, the preference for sons rather than daughters is a long-standing cultural custom. India is one of the countries with a distorted sex ratio at birth (SRB), with a peak of 113.6 in 2001 and then a decline to 109.9 in 2011. In recent years, the pattern of the distorted SRB in India has been discussed, and several common determinants have been underlined. One of them refers to the sex-composition of the offspring already born. The highest SRB occurs at the highest birth orders if the previous births are female. The distortion of SRB may also change according to the caste, wealth, education, and empowerment of women. This study aims to measure the impact of the sex sequence of previous births on the transition to the third birth among Indian mothers born between 1966-1985, by applying the sequence analysis. Moreover, the study sheds light on the role of education and the wealth index as determinants of the offspring’s sex composition. Preliminary results show that the gender sequence of the first two born is crucial in the transition to the third child: women who have already two sons and those who have two daughters have different fertility behaviours.

Keywords: Gender, Fertility and childbirth, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Demographic and social surveys

See paper.

  Presented in Session 146. Persisting Preferences for Sons