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You’re more likely to have a third baby if you have two children of the same sex

Among mothers of two children, approximately half had two children of the same sex.

Using birth registration data for 2007–15, we found that, of all third births, around 55 percent were to mothers with two children of the same sex (either two boys or two girls), compared with 45 percent to those with one boy and one girl.

The small difference between the number of third children born to same-sex two-child families and different-sex two-child families suggests that New Zealand parents with two children of the same sex are slightly more likely to have a third child than parents with a boy and a girl.

This may imply a desire for at least one child of each sex by some parents. However, as we don’t actually know parents’ intentions when having a third child, this is speculation.

Conclusion

This myth is plausible.

For your information

Is balancing the sex of their children important to New Zealand parents? Evidence from recent birth data – describes the results, methods, and data used to test the question “are parents of two or three children of the same sex more likely than other couples to have an additional child, and do they do so in order to have at least one girl and one boy?”

Research from across the Tasman had showed that Australian parents were more likely to have a third child if their first two children were the same sex. This research inspired us to do a little investigation into whether New Zealand parents share the same behaviour.

Kippen, R, Gary, E, & Evans, A (2005). The impact on Australian fertility of wanting one of each. [PDF, 10p], People and place 13(2), 12–20.

Kippen et al (2006). Parental preference for sons and daughters in a Western industrial setting: Evidence and implications. [PDF, 15p], Journal of Biosocial Science 39(4), 583–97.

Published 18 August 2017

 

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