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Social & Policy Issues
By 2-to-1, Americans Say Boys Easier to Raise Than Girls
Social & Policy Issues

By 2-to-1, Americans Say Boys Easier to Raise Than Girls

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • 54% of Americans say boys are easier to raise than girls
  • 27% say girls are easier to raise than boys
  • Since 1947, Americans have consistently said boys are easier to raise

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- By 54% to 27%, more Americans name boys than girls when asked to say which sex is easier to raise, while 14% volunteer there is no difference. Since 1947, Americans have been consistently more likely to say raising boys is easier than raising girls, but by varying margins.

Line graph: Americans' views on whether boys or girls are easier to raise, 1947-2018 trend. 2018: 54% say boys, 27% girls.

When Gallup first asked this question in 1947, 42% of Americans named boys as easier to raise, 24% named girls and 24% volunteered that there was no difference. The results were nearly identical in the next update, four decades later, in 1990. But since then, the percentage naming boys has increased, while the percentage saying "no difference" has declined.

Men, Younger Americans More Likely to Say Boys Are Easier to Raise

Two subgroups of Americans in particular are more likely to say boys are easier to raise than girls -- men and young adults. Among men, 58% say boys are easier to raise, while 24% say girls. That 34-percentage-point gap compares with a smaller 21-point gap among women, who also believe boys are easier to raise than girls, but by 50% to 29%.

There is roughly a 10-point difference by age in the belief that male children are easier, with 62% of adults aged 18 to 29 naming boys, compared with 52%-53% of those in each older age group. The oldest Americans, those aged 65 or older, are also more likely than those 18 to 29 to say it is easier to raise a girl, 30% versus 22%, respectively.

Men and Younger Americans More Likely Than Counterparts to Think Boys Are Easier to Raise
Which do you, yourself, think is easier to raise -- a boy or a girl?
A boy A girl No difference (vol.)
% % %
All Americans 54 27 14
Men 58 24 13
Women 50 29 15
18-29 62 22 12
30-49 52 28 15
50-64 53 24 16
65+ 52 30 12
(vol.) = Volunteered response
Gallup, June 1-13, 2018

Bottom Line

Despite increasing emphasis on equality for women and women's rights in the U.S. in recent years, a majority of Americans continue to say that boys are easier to raise than girls. And while this belief is particularly widespread among men, women are much more likely to say so as well. These views may be rooted in a belief that girls are more emotional, particularly during their teenage years, and therefore are harder to raise than boys. It may also result from fears over threats to the safety of female children and teenagers. Americans' belief that boys are easier to raise than girls may also contribute to their continued preference for having male children.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 1-13, 2018, with a random sample of 1,520 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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