The Influence of Sex of Existing Children on the Incidence and Timing of Higher-Order Births

Ann Evans, Australian National University
Edith E. Gray, Australian National University
Rebecca Kippen, Australian National University

In this paper we use two data sources to investigate whether sex composition of existing children is an important factor in parity progression, and the timing of higher-order births in Australia. Using census data from 1986, 1991, 1996 and 2001, women are linked with their biological children, allowing investigation of family sex composition and its changing impact over time on the propensity to have another child. Using a nationally representative panel survey we examine the length of the first and second birth intervals based on the sex of existing children. This paper is part of a larger project aimed at developing an informed theory about whether there is differential value to parents of sons and daughters, and whether this influences the likelihood and timing of higher-order births, using census data, survey data and qualitative interviews.

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