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Americans Prefer Boys To Girls

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Not much has changed since 1941. At least not when it comes to gender preference. If Americans could have only one child, 40 percent say they’d prefer a boy compared to just 28 percent who’d pick a girl (the rest have no preference). These are the latest results from a new Gallup poll, though they’re remarkably similar to the same poll originally done back in 1941. (Actually, the poll has been done 10 times since then and the numbers have always skewed in favor of boys.)

Turns out the trend is driven by men. Forty percent of men said they’d want a son compared to just 22 percent who said they’d prefer a daughter. Women, on the other hand, showed no real preference either way. And younger adults (ages 18 to 29) were also much more likely than their older counterparts to say they prefer a boy.

Until now, I always thought it was other countries – like China, for example – that have a distinct preference for baby boys. I was obviously mistaken, and I have to admit I find the results surprising (even though it’s been this way in the U.S. for the past 70 years). Why such a big discrepancy? What is it, in 2011, that would make American parents choose a baby boy over a baby girl?

I know that for many of my female friends, they’d actually prefer a girl simply because they like the idea of female bonding – of going shopping together and having girls’ weekends away (it’s cliché, but true). And many like the idea of girls taking care of them when they’re older (versus boys, who might not be up for to the task). Still, all parents I know – regardless of gender or age or education level – want one thing only: a healthy child.

(Photo: iStockphoto)