“It’s not a girl, it’s not a boy…it’s a baby”: Is there a growing preference of children of any gender among young urban women in India?
Isha Bhatnagar1
1Cornell Univeristy

In addition to demographic studies which suggest decline in son preference where it has been strong, few studies from Asia also note the emergence of gender indifference, as opposed to gender preference. In this context I ask if there is a growing preference towards desiring a child of any gender among young urban women in India. Using five rounds of Demographic and Health Survey data from India (1992 to 2019), I explore the trend of ideal sex composition of children. Multivariate regression, analysis by cohort, and decomposition analysis are used to probe into this hypothesis of social norm change. Preliminary analysis shows two kinds of trends: consistent and fluctuating. While the proportion of women desiring no children has been increasing, the proportion desiring one child has dipped recently, along with the mean number of children of any gender desired. I explore the possibility of shifting social norms towards gender equity.