Speeding up for a Son: Sex Ratio Imbalances by Birth Interval Among South Asian Migrants to Canada

Alicia Adsera, Ana M. Ferrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We use the 2001 and 2006 Canadian Census to study sex ratios at second birth among South Asian migrants, conditional on both the spacing between the first two children and the gender of the first-born. We find that South Asian women have an abnormally high share of boys after a first-born girl. Their sex ratio at birth is particularly skewed when the time span between the first two births is short. Several mechanisms may explain this finding. Couples with strong son preferences may attempt to conceive a boy fairly soon after a girl is born Sex-selective abortion may also happen more frequently after conceptions that occur fairly close to the birth of a first girl, because couples may limit the number of repeated abortions later in the interval. Even if sex ratios decrease over time within the birth spell, they still remain somewhat higher for live births spaced three years or longer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-149
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Studies in Population
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • History


  • Birth spacing
  • Imbalanced sex ratios
  • Immigrant fertility
  • Sex-selective abortion
  • Son preference


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