Ask any mom or dad during their pregnancy whether they’d prefer a son or a daughter. An overwhelming number of those parents will most likely tell you that it doesn’t matter as long as the baby is born happy, healthy, and with all of their fingers and toes. They’re surely being genuine with such a request, but recently The Economist brought to light a study that leads researchers to believe married couples are better off hoping for a son than a daughter.
Gordon Dahl of the University of California, San Diego and Enrico Moretti of the University of California, Berkeley coordinated with the U.S. census and analyzed some interesting data that spans the course of a decade. What they found is that men were more likely to propose to women upon finding out that she was pregnant with a boy. Not only that, but throughout that decade, men were less likely to divorce women who bore sons as opposed to daughters.
Laura Giuliano, an economist, conducted her own study in the form of a survey. In her survey, parents of children born in the U.S. between 1998 and 2000 were analyzed and what she found was that parents were more likely to tie the knot after 3 years if they were pregnant with a son. Furthermore, Giuliano’s data concluded that having a son was also valuable to saving a marriage. In fact, having a son reduced the chance of divorce by more than 20%, according to her findings.
One suspected reason to explain these findings is that men are more cooperative and willing to pay child support if the mother of their child births a boy. In time, this cooperation leads to a better relationship between the parents, and eventual marriage if they haven’t already shacked up.
An important side note to keep in mind, as per Giuliano’s findings: the mothers that were surveyed were firm believers that parents should stay together in spite of marital problems and disputes–no matter what.
According to Fatherly and Marriage and family therapist Vienna Pharaon, another possible explanation of this statistic comes from what’s known as the “mini-me phenomenon”. Wherein, parents envision that their child can grow up to be a better version of themselves. Obviously, that mental connection is only strengthened if they share the same sex as a child.
While the sample size of this data is realtively small, and certainly doesn’t point to anything conclusive about successful marriages, it is interesting food for thought, and a statistical anomaly to many researchers. In any case, it’s probably better off to stay optimistic about having any gender of baby…as long as they’re born happy, healthy, and with all of their fingers and toes!
This story was originally covered by The Economist
READ: 5 Benefits of leaving your baby’s gender a mystery
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