Having Daughters Increases Parents’ Identification with the Republican Party

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
(photo: Gerald Herbert, AP)

Parents who vote Republican may do so because of their daughters, researchers have concluded.


Sociologists Dalton Conley of New York University and Emily Rauscher of the University of Kansas say families with more girls than boys or those whose first child is a girl are more likely to have parents who identify with the GOP. It also “significantly reduces the likelihood of Democratic identification and significantly increases the strength of Republican Party identification,” Conley and Rauscher found.


“Compared to those with no daughters, parents with all daughters are 14% less likely to identify as a Democrat….[and] 11% more likely to identify as a Republican than parents with no daughters,” they wrote in the journal Sociological Forum.


The authors speculated that parents might prefer more socially conservative policies when they have daughters, which might explain the favoring of the GOP.


The so-called “daughters effect” is more likely to happen among better educated and wealthier parents, they found.


The conclusions were based on data collected nearly 20 years ago from the 1994 General Social Survey conducted by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center.


They chose the 1994 survey because it was the only one that included questions about the sex and birth order of a respondent’s biological children.


The findings are in line with another recent study that found boys who grew up with sisters were more likely, when they became adults, to identify with the Republican Party. However, it conflicts with two other studies: One is a 2008 report that found U.S. senators and representatives who have daughters voted more liberally than other lawmakers. The other is a 2010 British study which determined that voters with daughters were more likely to vote for liberal party candidates, while those with sons tended to vote for conservative candidates.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Study: Having Daughters Makes Parents More Likely to be Republican (by Rich Morin, Pew Research Center)

The Effect of Daughters on Partisanship and Social Attitudes Toward Women (by Dalton Conley and Emily Rauscher, Sociological Forum) (abstract)

62% of Americans Believe the Republican Party is Out of Touch, and 36% of Republicans Agree (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

The Most Republican City in the United States (by Aaron Wallechinsky and Elijah Wallechinsky, AllGov)


Leave a comment