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Preference for Number and Sex of Children in a Korean Town : 韓國에 있어서의 子女의 數 및 成에 關한 選好度

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Kwon, Tai Hwan; Lee, Hae Young

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Population and Development Studies Center, Seoul National University
Bulletin of the Population and Development Studies Center, Vol.5, pp. 1-13
This paper examines differentials and changes in the preference for number and sex of children in a Korean middle-sized town, based on the Coombs preference scale test, and attempts to identify major factors influencing the differences and changes. The survey results indicate that preference for number of children and that for seX do not necessarily change concomitantly. Though the number preference have declined to a significant degree for the last two decades, the bias toward large family still persists. The preference for sons, changed only slightly and is prevalent now as in the past. The socio-cultural variables and other intervening factors affecting the number bias are not identical with those related to changes in sex preference. The changes in the attitudes toward the number of children occurred without disturbing much the existing traditional settings of social and family life. This can be regarded mainly as a simultaneous response to the rapidly declining infant and childhood mortality. The preference for sons is more closely intertwined with the traditional culture and family system of the Korean society, and this perhaps explains the extremely slow pace of changes related to the sex of children. It is undoubted that the strong son preference will stimulate many couples to have more children than the number they desired by the end of reproductive period. The gap between the two preferences will be greater for women who have a preference toward smaller families.
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