AbstractIn this mixed-method longitudinal study, we examined the continuity of son preference and daughter preference from adolescence to adulthood, and investigated how perceptions of gender equity shape these preferences among 2,273 youth born in Dalian between 1979 and 1986 under the one-child policy. The majority expressed no preference in adolescence or adulthood. Results from multivariate analysis and the narratives of 23 participants revealed that child gender preferences in adolescence were predictive of later preferences in adulthood. Furthermore, in adolescence, child gender preferences were associated with individuals’ beliefs about gender as manifested in their attitudes towards women and employment, as well as their perceptions of parental and social gender biases against women. Our findings suggest that increasingly gender-egalitarian attitudes in urban China shape the child gender preferences of singleton youth in adolescence, and are likely to contribute to their later childbearing decisions, with important social and demographic implications.
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