Desired Family Size and Son Preference Among Hispanic Women of Low Socioeconomic Status

Jennifer B. Unger Gregory B. Molina

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Abstract / Summary

Among 432 Hispanic women aged 18-50 interviewed at a Los Angeles obstetrics and gynecology clinic, respondents reported wanting an average of 2.8 sons but only 0.1 daughters. Being older than 30, having no more than an eighth grade education, being separated, divorced or widowed, being Spanish-speaking or having been born outside the United States, and having a large family of origin were all positively associated with a desire for a greater number of sons. A multivariate analysis indicated that women who preferred to speak Spanish were 10.9 times as likely as those who preferred English to desire a greater number of sons, and those with more children were 2.5 times as likely as those with fewer children to have a strong desire for sons. Family planning programs for Hispanics may be more effective if they acknowledge this important motive for childbearing.

(Family Planning Perspectives, 29:284-287, 1997)

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