China Population and Development Studies

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 83–97 | Cite as

Effect of Sex Composition of Children on the Gender of Next Birth in the Context of Low Fertility in Rural China

  • Ying Li
  • Quanbao JiangEmail author
  • Stuart Gietel-Basten
  • Shuzhuo Li
Open Access


China currently has the world’s most skewed national sex ratio at birth. In this paper, we use data from China’s 2001 National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Survey and employ hierarchical logistic models to study how macro factors (mainly fertility policy and economic indicators, as represented by per capita GDP of the village units sampled in this research) and micro factors (mainly fertility intention and sex composition of children) affect the gender of the next birth. We find that the effect of fertility policies is intertwined with the sex composition of children already born. For those couples who have had a son (or sons), fertility policy exerts no effect; but for those with only daughters, the effect is significant. Furthermore, fertility intention, independent from fertility policy, has a significant effect on the gender of the next birth.

Key words

sex ratio at birth hierarchical logistic model fertility policy fertility intention sex composition of children 



This work is supported by the key project of the National Social Science Foundation of China (14AZD096).


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© China Population and Development Research Center 2015

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Ying Li
    • 1
  • Quanbao Jiang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stuart Gietel-Basten
    • 2
  • Shuzhuo Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Population and Development StudiesXi’an Jiaotong UniversityChina
  2. 2.Department of Social Policy and InterventionUniversity of Oxford and Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong Kong

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