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That tired truism about wanting only a healthy baby and not caring about gender? Puh-leeze. Women want daughters, and men crave sons, finds research in the journal Open Anthropology.

The results surprised even the researchers, from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, who’d surveyed more than 2,000 students, staff and faculty at the college about gender preference in offspring. They’d assumed that respondents would show little or no preference, but they found that — no matter how they worded the question — there was a “significant offspring gender preference” along gender lines.

Respondents answered the following questions:

  1. What gender would you prefer your firstborn child to be (or did you hope for if you already have a child)?
  2. If you were to have (or do have) more than one child, would you prefer the majority to be male or female?
  3. If you were to have only one child, what gender would you prefer it to be?


“Today, offspring gender preference conflicts with the ongoing mission in many nations, especially in Western Europe and North America, to pursue social and political...