As property prices climb, China's long-running preference for male children is eroding—and its reputation as a land of unwanted girls, aborted and given up for adoption in the face of the country's "one-child" policy, is being undone. A recent World Bank report shows that the gender imbalance toward boys actually peaked in mid-1990s in Beijing, with other provinces following suit in the last 10 years. Chinese parents are traditionally bound to buy a house for a son before he can marry, and rising property prices have made that responsibility increasingly burdensome.
Urbanization has been a factor as well, the Financial Times reports, decreasing the advantage of having a male child to help work the fields. “My husband and I don’t earn much and I can’t imagine how we can buy a flat for a son,” says one woman in Zhejiang province. "Sons bring economic pressure."