Sex composition of children, sex preference for the next child and subsequent fertility desire and expectation : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Sociology at Massey University

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Massey University
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In 1975, the Health Department's Management Services and Research Unit (MSRU) carried out a fertility survey in the Hutt Valley area of the Greater Wellington Region. It was followed by the publication of the "Family Growth Study" (FGS) which, according to the authors, is a preliminary report on contraceptive knowledge and practice, pregnancy planning, family size ideal and expectation, and other aspects of fertility behaviour. In the last section of the report, the authors, Reinken and Blakey (1976), pointed out the need for further analysis of the data. One matter of interest is the relationship between preference for sex balance and expectations for additional children. In their words: "Preferences for sex balance in family formation were recorded and correlation of these with comments on expectation for further children and expressions of opinion on ideal family size would be of interest" (Reinken and Blakey, 1976: 50). The relationship between the existing sex composition of the family and the future desire and expectation to have additional children has been chosen as the topic of the present study in response to this recommendation. In general, this study investigates the effect of sex preference on fertility. Given a current trend toward smaller family sizes, the issue that needs more immediate attention, is which factor would exert more influence on fertility, sex preference or the norm of smaller family size. Although this study concentrates on more specific questions, to be later outlined, its findings will hopefully make a contribution to the understanding of this general issue. [From Introduction]
Family size, Decision making, New Zealand, Parental preferences for sex of children