Poll: Americans prefer boy babies over girl babies


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ long-standing tilt toward preferring a boy over a girl if they could have only one child continues.

Thirty-six percent of Americans say they would want a boy and 28% a girl, with the rest — 36% — volunteering that it wouldn’t matter or that they don’t have an opinion.

Gallup has asked this question 11 times since 1941, with an average 11-percentage-point gap in preferences for boys over girls — ranging from a 15-point gap in 1947 and 2000 to four points in 1990. The current eight-point preference for a boy, from a June 1-13 poll, is slightly lower than the 12-point gap in Gallup’s last measure, from 2011.

The 77-year-long tendency for American adults to express overall preferences for a boy over a girl is driven by the marked preference among men for a baby boy and the more closely divided preferences among women. Men, over the years of Gallup’s trend, have preferred a boy over a girl by an average of 25 points, while women have averaged a slight three-point preference for a girl.

Men’s preference for a boy this year remains substantial but is slightly diminished, with the 19-point gap the lowest since 1990. The largest gap among men was in 2000 — when 55% said they would prefer a boy and 18% a girl.

Preferences among women in the current survey are essentially tied, with 31% opting for a girl and 30% for a boy. The highest preference for a girl over a boy among women was seven points, registered in 1990 and in 1996.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 1-13, 2018, with a random sample of 1,520 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

You can read the full poll results here.

You can view the complete survey questions and methodology here.

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