Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data
43 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2005 Last revised: 13 Dec 2013
Date Written: February 2008
Gender selection, manifested by unusually high percentages of male births, has spread in parts of Asia since the introduction of ultrasound technology. This paper provides the first empirical evidence consistent with the occurrence of gender selection within the United States. Analysis of comprehensive birth data shows unusually high boy-birth percentages after 1980 among later children (most notably third and fourth children) born to Chinese and Asian Indian mothers. Moreover, using maternally linked data from California, Asian Indian mothers are found to be significantly more likely both to have a terminated pregnancy and to give birth to a son when they have previously only given birth to girls.
Keywords: Gender selection, gender preference
JEL Classification: J13, J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation