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Pollard, Michael S. & Morgan, S. Philip (2002). Emerging Parental Gender Indifference? Sex Composition of Children and the Third Birth. American Sociological Review, 67(4), 600-613. PMCID: PMC2856967


For much of the twentieth century, parents in the United States with two children of the same sex were more likely to have a third child than were parents with one son and one daughter, that is, there was an effect of the sex of previous children on the occurrence of a third birth. Using multiple cycles of the Current Population Survey and National Survey of Family Growth, the authors examine the strength of this effect on both fertility behavior and intentions over multiple decades. Changes in the societal gender system are expected to weaken this pronatalist effect in recent periods. Consistent with this expectation, there has been some attenuation of the effect of sex composition of previous children on the third birth, suggesting declining salience of children's gender for parents.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Sociological Review


Pollard, Michael S.
Morgan, S. Philip