Do Baby Girls Cause Divorce?

August 2, 2013 in Daily Bulletin


“Economists take preferences as given, they don’t discuss preferences, they don’t question preferences; the best they can do they can measure preferences. And that’s what we seek to do.” Explains Enrico Moretti in a recent podcast for Freakonomics. His findings were as follows:

  • Couples who conceive a child out of wedlock and find out that it will be a boy are more likely to marry before the birth of their baby.
  • Parents who have first-born girls are significantly more likely to be divorced.
  • Fathers are significantly less likely to be living with their children if they have daughters versus sons.
  • In any given year, roughly 52,000 first-born daughters younger than 12 years (and all their siblings) would have had a resident father if they had been boys.
  • Divorced fathers are much more likely to obtain custody of sons compared to daughters.

Such were the findings of analysing U.S. census data from 1960 to 2000. Perhaps then the 2000’s will cease to show this trend. Read more details about the study, including possible causes of this seeming son-preference over here.

Source: Freakonomics