(Young) (Male) Americans Prefer Boy Children

In a previous post I’ve argued against framing a preference for boy children as “culturally ‘Asian.’” New data from Gallup, sent in by Kari B., shows that this preference is alive and well among Americans, at least among men. While women are most likely to have no opinion and are about equally likely to prefer a girl or boy, men are significantly more likely to prefer a boy. This preference is strongest among younger men, but still present among men over 50. Whereas women become increasingly indifferent with age and, secondarily, begin to prefer girls.

CNN editors note that, since children are mostly born to young people, and indifferent women may bend to men’s preferences, new sex-selection technologies threaten to create a gender imbalance in the U.S.

Reprinted with permission from Sociological Images.

Thumbnail from Flickr user mikebaird under Creative Commons 2.0.


  1. Sex-selection is by definition sexist, and a symptom of a cultural ill. No argument there. But I don’t quite understand being so worried about the symptom itself (even if only in addition to rather than instead of the disease. While it’s possible gender imbalance may create a system of positive feedback reinforcing the patriarchal structure, I suspect that–especially in first-world countries–it’s a self-correcting problem.

    Maybe thirty years from now, the popularity of polyandry will increase significantly.

  2. Janell Hobson says:

    I wonder if this is really true (for women I mean not having a “preference”.)

    I have a friend who’s having her first baby in her 40s, after years of trying to get pregnant through fertility treatment. Although she was absolutely certain she had no gender preference (as she’s already thinking this will be her only child), when she found out that she was having a boy, she did feel just a slight bit of disappointment (anticipating subconsciously that she would have a girl).

    “I know absolutely nothing about raising a boy!” she exclaimed.

    “Well, that’s what motherhood is about: learning fast!,” I replied.

    In other words, I’m almost certain that the majority of women who took this poll probably feel just as men do in wanting a child of the same sex (translation: WE ALL WANT A MINI-ME!) but would never admit it to ourselves.

    Because of this, I’m not sure I would immediately jump to this huge gender preference reveal from this survey. I especially would not jump to the conclusion that such “biases” will potentially lead to sex selection.

    However, I would hope that policies will immediately be implemented to outlaw any such sex selection practices should they arise.

  3. My brother was the exception to the rule. He loved playing ‘daddy’ with dolls. He got mad when our father did not remember their names. I did not care because they were not actual children.

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