Internet chat groups have sprang up where women exchange advice on how to conceive girls.
Rising property prices are driving the change, which is expected to be confirmed by China’s once-a-decade census that started on Monday, because Chinese families must traditionally buy a flat for a son before he can marry.
“My husband and I don’t earn much and I can’t imagine how we can buy a flat for a son,” says Zhang Aiqin of Pujiang in Zhejiang province.
“And it is not only a flat,” says Zhang Yun, a Shanxi province native who lives in Shanghai, alluding to the cost of educating and marrying off a boy. “Sons bring economic pressure†‰…†‰[but] ‘a daughter is a warm jacket for a mother’ when she is old,” she says, quoting an ancient Chinese idiom to illustrate the fact that many urbanised Chinese think daughters are better caregivers.