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A First-Born Son Means You Might Stay Home More

A First-Born Son Means You Might Stay Home More

Getting back to the daily nine-to-five grind outside the home can be a challenge for many new moms, but a new report shows it may be even more difficult for women who have first-born sons to rejoin the labor market.  

A recent article from the Wall Street Journal’s blog Real Time Economics discusses a paper published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research that shows women from large developed countries with first-born sons tend to work fewer hours in the labor market than women who have a girl first.

By combining statistics from the years 1990 - 2008 in the Current Population Survey and the National Health Interview Survey, authors of the paper found that women who had sons first were anywhere from 1.3 to 2.7 percent more likely to work fewer hours than women with first-born daughters.

So why are moms who have boys first making the decision to stay home more?

The authors of the paper report the reason for the findings as "a puzzle."  The paper later cites past studies that show having “A first-born girl reduces substantially the stability of a marriage” with divorce rates at 4 percent higher for couples who have girls first.  

What do you think of the findings that women who have girls first tend to work more hours outside the home?

What was the hardest part about returning to your job after having kids?

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  • Lusadi By Lusadi
    04.26.11  

    I think the statistics used for the article are fairly sketchy and incomplete. First of all, the birth rate for girls is higher than that for boys. That automatically makes anything involving a girl more likely to have a higher percentage rate. Plus, the percentage difference is fairly small. Maybe it makes for interesting headlines, but I see this particular study as a waste of money.

  • BMDsMommy By BMDsMommy
    04.26.11  

    I had a boy and returned to work right away. I don't think it has anything to do with what sex you have first, it is all about choice. Can you afford to stay home? I couldn't...it is as simple as that.

  • cvarano By cvarano
    04.26.11  

    Interesting study. I wonder if it has anything to do with boys taking up more of your time because they are generally (and I'm speaking very generally here) a bit more of a handful than girls?

  • jaybirdmm By jaybirdmm
    04.26.11  

    Very interesting. My first born was a boy and I chose not to return to the work force until he was in school. But I continued to work during my pregnancy with my daughter and returned to work six weeks after her birth only to realize that I was missing crucial moments and milestones and chose to once again leave the workforce to raise my family.

  • LifebyCynthia By LifebyCynthia
    04.26.11  

    I agree with "jld111106 " - I had a boy and returned to work right away as well. I too do not believe that it is the sex of the baby that is causing moms to decided whether or not to return to work but more so the economic impact on the family. I am curious as to how ?A first-born girl reduces substantially the stability of a marriage?? I don't take stock in the findings that women who have girls first work more hour outside the home. The hardest part about returning to the job after having our child is the feeling of being tired ALL of the time while at work. I do catch my 2nd wind once I come home to our smiling baby. That makes the sacrifice of being a working mom worth it.

  • wvmommyX By wvmommyX
    04.27.11  

    It would be interesting to see what countries were included in the study. Place has a substantial effect on social outcomes, and different countries favor boys, so it would be helpful to know what the study was based on. I've had two boys and stay at home with both, but I don't think that having a girl would have made a difference.

  • mariedmandi By mariedmandi
    05.04.11  

    everyone has pretty good pts. I have 2 boys and go out with them every chance I get :)

  • CAE1982 By CAE1982
    05.12.11  

    I just think this is all a concidence. Yes, they have statistics to back it up but either you have a healthy marriage or an unhealthy and unstable marriage and babies can help or hinder this. I do not see how the gender of your first born determines this.

  • Kaykay0711 By Kaykay0711
    05.12.11  

    I totally agree with LifebyCynthia's first two sentences: meaning, for my first son, I went right back to work and my second son so many years later, I stayed home and have some work from home type jobs. I can see it from both sides and don't think this article necessarily should have been written because my personal belief is that to a certain extent, some parents follow trends. It is hard enough to make this decision (to work or stay home) without worrying that your beautiful newborn daughter could impact your marriage.

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