We analyse expenditure patterns for rural China, focusing on differences between families with boys and girls. The sample includes more than 5000 nuclear families from 19 Chinese provinces. Following the existing literature, we estimate Engel curves for food and for alcohol, a typical adult good. We use a flexible, partially linear specification and allow for endogeneity of total expenditures. The results are similar to those of other studies, not providing much evidence of gender differentials. We then focus on the decision to send a child to school and on the budget share spent on educational goods. Using both parametric and semiparametric estimates, we find evidence that boys are more often sent to school and that expenditures on a boy that goes to school are larger than for a school-going girl of the same age.