New Delhi: About 79% of women aged 15 to 49 and 78% of men in the 15-54 age group in India want to have at least one daughter, according to recently released National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data.
Interestingly, men and women from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Muslims, rural people and those from the lower rungs of the economic ladder are keener to have a daughter. The proportion of those wanting a daughter has risen from the 2005-06 NFHS survey in which 74% of women and 65% of men had said they wanted one. Despite this trend, there remains a preference for sons. More rural women (81%) than urban (75%) want one daughter; this proportion is higher (85%) in women who have no education compared to women who have passed Class XII (72%).
About 80% of rural men and 75% of urban men want daughters. Again, 83% of men with no schooling wanted a daughter against 74% of those who have completed 12 years or more of schooling.
About 81% of Muslim, 79% of Buddhist/Neo-Buddhist and 79% of Hindu women desired at least one daughter. Even among other religions, more than 70% of women wanted a daughter. This number is higher in SCs (81%), STs (81%) and other backward class women (80%). The patterns are similar among men. About 84% of ST and 79% of SC men want daughters. So do 81% of Muslim and 78% of Hindu and Jain men. Among Buddhist/ Neo-Buddhist men, this number is 77%. When it comes to wealth, 86% of women and 85% of men from the poorest one-fifth wanted at least one daughter, while only 73% of the wealthiest women and 72% of the wealthiest men wanted one.
About 82% of women and 83% of men across all categories want at least one son in the family. Also, roughly 19% of both women and men want more sons than daughters while only a tiny 3.5% wanted more daughters than sons. Bihar (37%) and UP (31%) had the highest proportion of women who wanted more sons than daughters.