Latest Comments
Search
« It's True! | Main | I see »

That just bites

One of the most fascinating things I have learnt lately is the Trivers-Willard hypothesis that essentially predicts that well-off parents have more sons, while poor parents of low status have more daughters, as children inherit wealth and social status of their parents. As such, sons tend to benefit more from rich parents of high social status than a daughter would.

This hypothesis has been documented around the globe. American presidents, vice presidents, and cabinet secretaries have more sons than daughters. Poor Mukogodo herders in East Africa have more daughters than sons. Church parish records from the 17th and 18th centuries show that wealthy landowners in Leezen, Germany, had more sons than daughters, while farm laborers and tradesmen without property had more daughters than sons. In a survey of respondents from 46 nations, wealthy individuals are more likely to indicate a preference for sons if they could only have one child, whereas less wealthy individuals are more likely to indicate a preference for daughters.

The generalized Trivers-Willard hypothesis goes beyond a family's wealth and status: If parents have any traits that they can pass on to their children and that are better for sons than for daughters, then they will have more boys. Conversely, if parents have any traits that they can pass on to their children and that are better for daughters, they will have more girls.

Physical attractiveness, while a universally positive quality, contributes even more to women's reproductive success than to men's. The generalized hypothesis would therefore predict that physically attractive parents should have more daughters than sons. Once again, this is the case. Americans who are rated "very attractive" have a 56 percent chance of having a daughter for their first child, compared with 48 percent for everyone else.

-Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature

Couple this hypothesis with the trend of favouristism of males in Asian culture, and throw in government control of how many children every family can have in, say China, and you can see where this is going - the poor, who want sons, have a limit of how children they can have. Ironically, they are also predicted to have higher chances of a daughter which leads to more infanticide and abandonment of female babies. _sigh_

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>