A new Gallup poll asked Americans this question: If you could only have one child, would you rather it be a boy or a girl? Overall, 40 percent of us wanted a boy, 28 percent preferred a girl, and 26 percent weren’t sure or didn’t care. I can be fairly certain that a lot of the people answering this question don’t already have children, because if they did—and I have one of each—girls would have won, hands down. These are just about the exact same percentages as when the poll was first taken, in 1941—when boys won 38 to 24 percent—which goes to show that a World War, the atom bomb, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights revolution, the invention of the computer and even Facebook haven’t managed to overcome thousands of years of reliance on primogeniture to organize society.
Where the poll got really interesting was when it dug a little deeper down.
Women didn’t actually have a gender preference for children; they split 31 to 33 percent on the question. But men overwhelmingly long for male offspring, 49 to 22 percent. Again, I can only assume these men don’t actually have boys, or at least don’t pick up after them. This is borne out by the fact that the younger you are—whether you’re male or female—the more likely you are to want a boy. Pollees ages 18 to 29 preferred male offspring 58 percent to 27 percent; by age 65-plus, the numbers were virtually even at 31 to 29. Which goes to show that as you are exposed to males and females more in the course of life, you come to understand which is truly the superior sex.
Democrats are more even-handed in gender preference than their Republican counterparts, voting pro-boy 39 to 33 percent vs. the GOP’s 43 to 24. Most intriguingly of all, the smarter you are, at least in terms of book-learning, the more you favor females. Those with a high-school education or less prefer boys 44 percent to 25 percent; by the time people have earned post-grad degrees, they’re so much wiser that they choose females first, 33 to 32 percent. I could say more, but don’t feel the need to. I think the numbers speak for themselves.