Increasing Acceptance of Daughters in India: Trends, Regional Differentials and Determinants

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Rangasamy Nagarajan
Harihar Sahoo


Using data from National Family Health Surveys I, II, III and IV, the present study explores the emerging trends and determinants of having daughters only in India. Results reveal there is an increasing trend in daughter preference in southern states, while the prevalence of daughter-only families is lower in northern, central and western states. The binary logit regression analysis reveals younger age of women, educational level, urban residence, wealth index of the household and southern region have a significant positive effect on daughter acceptance in India. The study found despite an increasing desire for smaller families, there is still a perceived necessity of sons for inheritance, carrying on the family name, economic support during old age and performing religious rites. At the same time, there are indications that some couples are accepting permanent methods of family planning without having a son. Therefore, it is important for the Government of India to focus on effective strategies to reduce its son preference and accelerate the acceptance of daughters.

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Nagarajan, R., & Sahoo, H. (2019). Increasing Acceptance of Daughters in India: Trends, Regional Differentials and Determinants. Journal of Population and Social Studies [JPSS], 27(2), 106–123. Retrieved from
Research Articles
Author Biography

Harihar Sahoo, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, India

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