According to National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data released recently, about 79 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 and 78 per cent of men in the 15-54 age group in India want to have at least one daughter. The proportion of those wanting a daughter has risen from the 2005-06 NFHS survey in which 74 per cent of women and 65 per cent of men had said they wanted one.
However, there remains a preference for sons. More rural women (81 per cent) than urban (75 per cent) want one daughter; this proportion is higher (85 per cent) in women who have no education compared to women who have passed Class XII (72 per cent).
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.
About 80% of rural men and 75% of urban men want daughters. Again, 83 per cent 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%). 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%.