Sex-Composition of Living Children and Women’s Fertility Desire in Vietnam

  • Nguyen Thi Hai Yen
  • Pataporn Sukontamarn
  • Truc Ngoc Hoang Dang
Keywords: Sex Composition; Fertility Desire; Son Preference; Mix-Gender Preference; Gender Norms; Vietnam


Objective: To investigate the relationship between sex-composition of children and women’s fertility desire in Vietnam.

Materials and methods: Using data from the 2014 Vietnam Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), we investigate the association between sex composition of children and desire for additional children among women in reproductive age (15 to 49 years) across Vietnam (N=5,605).

Results: Multivariate logistic regression models showed statistically significant association between sex composition of children and women’s fertility desire, after controlling for social norms of fertility preference, demographic and socioeconomic factors. For each group of women (those with one child, two children, and three or more children) women with no sons are more likely to have higher fertility desire compared to women with at least one son. However, women with both son (s) and daughter (s) tend to have lower fertility desire compared to those who have all sons.

Conclusion: Vietnam’s traditional cultural norm of son preference has a strong influence on fertility desire. Besides, mix-gender preference is also documented. The government should enforce the law more strictly regarding the prohibition of ultrasounds to detect fetal sex to reduce the feasibility of sex selection abortion. In addition, the government should improve the social ideology of the role of women in the family and society through mass media.