ERIC Number: ED223507
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Sep
Reference Count: 0
The Value of Children during Industrialization: Childhood Sex Ratios in Nineteenth Century America.
Hammel, E. A.; And Others
Significant regional differences in the proportion of white male and female children in the 19th century in different areas of the United States may be attributable to the economy. Boys were more numerous than girls in the South and along the frontier, while the ratio was more equal or in favor of girls in the eastern states. Data were obtained from county and state decennial census reports from 1820 to 1860 and were computer-generated into maps and tables which revealed differences in male-female ratios. Of the various theories explaining the causes of these sex differences, it appears that changes in the economic system and in the attitudes of the value of children produced these effects. In an economy of early agricultural modernization, boys were a greater asset to farm families than girls, whereas in industrial urban areas there was little difference in the productive capability of the sexes. Because child labor was widespread during this era, parents could have been influenced to migrate to areas that would be advantageous to the sex of their children and to provide differential care (e.g., boys may have received better medical attention than girls) sufficient to influence childhood mortality patterns. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (San Francisco, CA, September, 1982).