Couples with First-Born Girls More Likely to Divorce

C. Price
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Can the gender of your first child determine if your marriage will last?

An analysis of census data indicates parents of first-born girls are significantly more likely to divorce compared to couples who have a son first.

This according to a new paper co-written by economists Gordon B. Dahl and Enrico Moretti. In “The Demand for Sons,” they spell out how a child’s gender can be a potential indicator for parental divorce.

“Parents who have first-born girls are significantly more likely to be divorced,” Moretti said. “And so parents who have first-born boys are significantly more likely to stay together.”

The data Moretti and Dahl examined for their research was culled from U.S. Census figures collected between 1960 and 2000.


“A child’s gender can be a potential

indicator for parental divorce.”

They also found families with first-born sons were less likely to have additional children, possibly signifying some preference for a boy.

“Families whose first born is a son seem to feel less of a need of adding a second kid,” Moretti said.

However, the final report is careful to balance this controversial finding.

“Taken individually, each piece of empirical evidence is not sufficient to establish the existence of parental gender bias,” the reports reads. “But taken together, the weight of the evidence supports the notion that parents in the U.S. favor boys over girls.”

As a result of the higher divorce rates, the study found a first-born daughter is considerably less likely to have her father living at home compared against first-born sons.

Additionally, mothers who’d undergone an ultrasound and were determined to be expecting a girl were less likely to be married when the child was delivered.

Source: berkeley.edu. Photo source: visualphotos.com.