Hindu-Muslim Differentials in Ideal Family Size and Son Preference: A Comparative Study of Selected States of India

Aparajita Chattopadhyay, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Sulabha Parasuraman, Institute of Population and Social Research

Many a times, desire for son contradicts with small family norms. It is often documented that religious minorities set higher goals to their ideal number of children either to protect their self-interest or for poorer socio-economic and developmental deprivations or for the religious theology. However, what factors are playing important role in this context is still in dark for limited research and sensitivity of the topic in India. The paper throws light on these issues using NFHS II, 1998-99. Results reveal that ideal number of children is much higher for Muslims in all states irrespective of developmental stage but if the woman of either religion is not having son, the demand for additional children is remarkably high except for two developed states. Thus, religion remains an important factor influencing ideal family. Conclusively, it is not ‘religion’ perse but its interactions with other socio-political aspects that determine ideal family.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Fertility, Family Planning, Unions, and Sexual Behavior