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Learning to Value Girls: Balanced Infant Sex Ratios at Higher Parental Education in the U.S. 1969-2018

Infant sex ratios that differ from the biological norm provide a measure of gender status inequality that is not susceptible to social desirability bias. Ratios may become less biased with educational expansion through reduced preference for male children. Alternatively, bias could increase with education through more access to sex-selective medical technologies. Using National Vital Statistics data on the population of live births in the U.S. 1969-2018, we examine trends in infant sex ratios by parental race/ethnicity, education, and birth parity over 5 decades. We find son-biased infant sex ratios among Chinese and Asian Indian births that persist in recent years and regressions suggest son-biased ratios among births to Filipino and Japanese mothers with less than high school education. Infant sex ratios are more balanced at higher levels of maternal education,  particularly when both parents are college educated. Results suggest greater equality of gender status with higher education in the U.S.

Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/bbed-3r02

This EdWorkingPaper is published in:

Rauscher, E., & Song, H. (2022). Learning to Value Girls: Balanced Infant Sex Ratios at Higher Parental Education in the U.S. 1969-2018. Demography, 59 (3), 1143–1171. https://doi.org/10.1215/00703370-9968420

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Rauscher, Emily, and Haoming Song. (). Learning to Value Girls: Balanced Infant Sex Ratios at Higher Parental Education in the U.S. 1969-2018. (EdWorkingPaper: 22-594). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/bbed-3r02

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