Son Preference, Family Composition and Sterilization among Young Married Women in Bangalore, India

Jeffrey Edmeades, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Tina Y. Falle, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Suneeta Krishnan, University of California, San Francisco

This paper focuses on the relationship between son preference and sterilization behavior among young married women in two slum areas in Bangalore, India. An extensive literature now documents the existence of a preference for sons in India and its effects on demographic patterns. However, a number of studies have suggested that women's reproductive desires and behavior are shaped by more than a simple desire for sons, but rather by a desire for a “balanced” sex composition among children that includes daughters. We use event-history modeling techniques to examine how both a preference for sons and a particular sex composition of children influence the decision to stop childbearing through sterilization. Descriptive statistics suggest that women are more likely to be sterilized if they have sons, but that this is most common among those with both daughters and at least one son.

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Presented in Session 66: Strategies for Achieving Reproductive Goals