I guess it’s a good thing we had a boy:
Oh, No: It’s a Girl!
If you want to stay married, three of the most ominous words you’ll ever hear are “It’s a girl.” All over the world, boys hold marriages together, and girls break them up.
In the United States, the parents of a girl are nearly 5 percent more likely to divorce than the parents of a boy. The more daughters, the bigger the effect: The parents of three girls are almost 10 percent more likely to divorce than the parents of three boys.
Hard to believe, but it doesn’t stop there. The few surveys of parental happiness I found on the web show that mothers of sons are “happier” on average than mothers of girls. And unmarried couples are more likely to tie the knot if they learn their unborn child will be a boy. And, as if that weren’t enough, divorced women with daughters have a harder time remarrying.
The question is why. Are daughters really such an albatross? Do sons really cause happiness?
Slate’s Steven E. Landsburg kicks the tires on some explanations. Maybe men stick around to raise their sons? Or maybe women stay with men so their sons can have fathers? Or maybe it’s the “everybody stays happy” theory: Dad invests in making son happy; so Mom invests in making Dad happy; so everybody stays pretty happy.
On the other hand, it could be that sons are more vulnerable to the effects of divorce, thus raising the stakes of splitting up. You want your kid to wear a trench coat and skin cats? Leave his mother. Or maybe women with daughters depend less on their husbands emotionally? Why bother talking to that blob on the couch playing Halo when you can go shopping with your daughter?
Either way, I’m probably the wrong person to make sense of this. I love just about everything there is to love about women. The way they walk, talk, think, feel, smell, taste, smile, cry – all of it. The first 25 years of my life, in fact, were a love affair with women in general. The last 10 have been a love affair with one woman in particular. So when you tell me that bringing a woman into the world ruins your life, I call bullshit. That’s like someone telling me that Ben & Jerry’s tastes bad. No. No, it doesn’t.
Could it be there’s something else going on?
Rich Mother’s Have More Sons
Rich, married and well-educated women tend to have more sons while those who are unhealthy and poorer tend to have more daughters, according to a study.
Researchers studied 50 million people and found that mothers in ‘good condition’ – those who were married, better educated and younger – bore more sons than mothers in ‘poor condition’.
I am no number cruncher. The last math course I took was freshmen year of college, and I still have recurring nightmares about trying to operate a TI-85. But if nature really does hedge its bets this way, then why is everyone so surprised that women with sons are happier on average than those with daughters? Of course they’re happier. They’re statistically more likely to be rich, married, well-educated, well-fed, and healthy. The whole thing about their kid having a penis has nothing to do with it.
With some luck, one of the 3 people who read this blog is a closet statistician and can tell us if the “daughters cause divorce” phenomenon holds true when you adjust for the parent’s income, education level, marital status, etc.
Because I’m guessing it doesn’t. And until I see otherwise, I’m going to assume that the sex of the kid you have doesn’t determine whether or not you have a happy marriage.
Your marriage does.