Fertility Assimilation: The Role of Culture

Nanneh Chehras, University of California, Irvine

This paper examines the role of child sex composition preferences on fertility assimilation outcomes for Chinese, Indian, and South Korean women in the United States. Unlike other immigrant groups, socioeconomic factors poorly explain fertility assimilation for these women. First-generation women from these countries maintain the preference for sons after migration. They are significantly more likely to stop having children if a son is achieved at earlier parities, resulting in large immigrant and native fertility differentials. Second-generation women do not exhibit a bias toward sons. Their fertility behavior is indicative of a preference for mixed sibling sex composition. Once second-generation immigrants adopt the native preference for mixed sex children, their fertility behavior becomes similar to natives and fertility assimilation occurs. This is the first paper to use culturally driven child sex preferences to explain fertility assimilation across generations.

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Presented in Session 150: Sex Preferences and Sex Composition Effects on Fertility Intentions