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Portrait Annika Elwert. Photo: Emma Lord.

Annika Elwert

Associate senior lecturer

Portrait Annika Elwert. Photo: Emma Lord.

Fertility patterns and sex composition preferences in immigrant–native unions in Sweden


  • Annika Elwert

Summary, in English

Intermarriage between immigrants and native individuals highlights the need to study childbearing as a joint decision of couples, because fertility preferences are likely to differ for the two partners involved. This study focuses on Sweden, where the majority population holds a relative preference for daughters but many immigrants come from countries with son preferences. Using longitudinal registers for the period 1990–2009, I analyse third-birth risks according to the sex composition of previous children and type of union. Doing so allows the study of preferences from behavioural data: couples with a daughter preference, for example, are more likely to have another child if their two previous children were boys. Results show that third-birth risks tend to be higher in unions between Swedish women and immigrant men, whereas unions between Swedish men and immigrant women tend to exhibit lower third-birth risks. Son preferences are rarely realized in intermarriages.


  • Department of Economic History
  • Department of Sociology
  • Economic demography

Publishing year





Population Studies

Document type

Journal article




  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • exogamy
  • fertility preferences
  • immigrant fertility
  • immigrants
  • intermarriage
  • reproductive behaviour
  • sex composition preferences
  • Sweden




  • ISSN: 0032-4728