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Do parents prefer sons in North Korea?

Authors
  • Goodkind, D1
  • 1 U.S. Bureau of the Census, International Programs Center, Washington, DC 20233-8860, USA. [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Studies in family planning
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1999
Volume
30
Issue
3
Pages
212–218
Identifiers
PMID: 10546312
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study examines the indicators of son preference in North Korea. Basing from the 1993 population census and 1998 surveys of child nutrition conducted in the wake of the recent famine, simple indicators of son preference were constructed. These include sex ratio at birth, sex ratios of infant and child mortality, and sex ratios of child malnutrition. Findings revealed that in North Korea, parents do not evince son preference at all. The reason is that son preference was already absent in the northern area prior to the division of the Korean peninsula at the 38th parallel in 1946 (the demilitarized zone established following the Korean War in 1953 falls near the same boundary). Other indicators proved no evidence, such as excess female mortality or malnutrition in the postnatal period, during which discrimination requires no special technology. The discrepancy in son preference across the Korean peninsula seems due largely to the social agenda pursued in the ancient Confucian ideology presumed to underlie son preference.

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