Speeding up for a Son? Fertility Transitions among First and Second Generation Migrants to Canada

Alicia Adsera, Princeton University
Ana Ferrer, University of Calgary

Both unequal treatment of children across gender-lines and selective abortion seem to explain the noticeable higher shares of boys in societies with strong son preference. In more developed societies where children are not essential for old-age insurance and where cultural assimilation may dilute ancestral traditions, fertility behavior of migrants arriving from areas with strong son-preference should slowly resemble that of natives. Using women 16 to 45 years of age from the 20% sample of the Canadian Census of Population from 1991 to 2006, we study the relevance of ethnic and religious background in explaining the differential speed of transitioning to second and third births conditional on the gender composition of previous children. Migrants space children more separately than native-Canadian if the first born is a son. Among first generation migrants a third birth occurs sooner after two girls, particularly among Hindis and Sikhs. The second generation is also analyzed.

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Presented in Poster Session 4