Human fertility and sex ratio of China's population have attracted the interest of demographers and other scholars since the early twentieth century. The present study was initiated in 2008 to investigate recent changes in family sizes and sex ratios. Survey data were obtained from students enrolled at three universities located in Shenyang, China, (41.8 N, 123.4 E). Each student respondent supplied information on the number of children and gender composition for the parental, present, and projected generations. Average numbers of children were 4.5, 1.6, and 1.7, and secondary sex ratios (males∶100 females) were 101.2, 108.3, and 107.1 for parental, present, and projected generations; respectively. In the parental generation, four children per family occurred most frequently, whereas in the present generation one child families were most frequent. In the projected generation, the most desired family consisted of two children with both sexes present and the male being born first. Binomial distribution and correlation analyses for the present generation demonstrated highly significant differences (P < 0.01) between observed and expected combination of sexes in two-child families. The response to China's One Child Family Planning Policy has resulted in an unmatched one generation reduction in family size from 4.5 to 1.6 children. These results indicated that there may be a waning of the historically strong son preference.
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Vol. 70 • No. 1