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Ethnic Differences in Fertility and Sex Ratios at Birth in China: Evidence from Xinjiang

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This study uses data from the 1990 Census of China for Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region to examine phenomena that, to date, have been examined primarily at the national level: fertility and sex ratios at birth of women who already have at least one surviving child. Comparing data for Uighurs, Kazakhs, Hui, and Han, it finds enormous differences in fertility between the nationalities in the presence of high levels of fertility control. Also, for all four nationalities the extent of fertility control is dependent on the sex of surviving children. Women who had no previous sons, or who had many daughters, were likely to continue to try to have children even at ages and parities past which they would normally have stopped childbearing. Finally, disproportionately feminine sex ratios at birth are found for couples who have had several sons and no daughters. Hence, researchers interested in the question of unusual sex ratios at birth in China need to account for 'missing boys' as well as 'missing girls'.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 2: Department of Political Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Publication date: July 1, 1995

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