Does your birth order affect the outcome of your life?

We examine studies that proffer opinions on how birth order affects your life.

Does your birth order affect the outcome of your life?

Like it or not, studies show that the order in which you are born may have a huge effect on the outcome of your life, with older children tending to be smarter and higher achievers in business and academics than younger siblings.

However, that’s not to say all is lost for younger siblings, as they tend to be more adventurous, more outdoorsy, more creative and possibly, more athletically gifted.

A study published in the Journal of Human Resources, found that firstborn children score higher on IQ tests than their younger siblings.

A first-born or only child is also more likely to become a doctor, lawyer or CEO, whereas a younger sibling is more likely to get into sports and more adventurous activities.

You can chalk it up to parenting and sibling rivalry. While smarter siblings may excel academically, younger siblings will naturally turn to their strengths. According to a study published on Taylor & Francis Online:

“Research suggests that the way athletes view sport participation can be shaped by their experiences and relationships with siblings. Athletes may choose or avoid certain physical activities based on the interests of their siblings, and athletes may define their athletic abilities based on the abilities of their siblings. Moreover, natural rivalry exists between siblings and is especially present when siblings compete against one another in sport contexts.”

Another study published by The Institute of Labor Economics revealed that first-born children are more likely to be managers or in occupations that require leadership ability, while children born later tend to be self-employed.

A 2007 survey of corporate leaders found that 43 per cent of CEOs were firstborns, 33 per cent were middle children, and 23 per cent were youngest children.

Parents tend to be overprotective of firstborn or only children and, in turn, these children are likely to pursue brain-based interests. When more children come into the family, parents tend to ‘ease up’, allowing children the freedom to follow more adventurous pursuits.

According to WebMD, first-born kids get around 3000 more hours of quality time with parents than younger siblings do at the same age. This may be because, once another child comes along, there’s less free time to spend with two or more children than there was with just one.

However, another study shows that those younger children tend to be closer to their mothers as time goes on but the same study revealed that mothers will turn to first-borns in a time of crisis.

First-born children are also more likely to put pressure on themselves to achieve more in life. Same goes for only children, as kids without siblings are more often treated as adults at a younger age.

When it comes to sibling rivalry, those spaced less than two years apart are more likely to have more conflict in their relationship than siblings born more than two years apart, paediatricians say.

And while a study published on Brain Imaging and Behavior showed that only children tend to exhibit higher levels of creativity, they’re also slightly less agreeable. This same study also showed that while birth order may affect occupation and intelligence, it has very little to do with the creation of a child’s personality.

However, other studies give a rough idea of how a child’s personality may evolve within the family structure. The first-born tends to be the high achiever, the middle child takes on the role of peacemaker, while the youngest tend to be more outgoing and charming to get attention yet have a greater sense of independence.

Do you agree with any of these findings? What was your experience as a child? Do you think your birth order affected your occupation, interests or personality?

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    COMMENTS

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    Old Geezer
    21st Nov 2018
    10:36am
    I'll send that to my twin brother as we still don't know which one was born first as our parents mixed us up numerous times when we were babies.
    Karl Marx
    21st Nov 2018
    11:27am
    rofl, finally it all makes sense. Lothario is your twin brother lol
    Nan Norma
    21st Nov 2018
    1:36pm
    And I thought there couldn't be another one like you.
    Vee
    22nd Nov 2018
    9:20am
    I too am a twin and we always argue about who is the eldest and what is the time difference. We have both had similar positions in finance so still can't work it out. I think I'm smarter than him but I let him think he is.
    Old Geezer
    25th Nov 2018
    4:18pm
    We often joke about who our wives actually married and should we swap. Can't repeat what our wives say about that one.
    iday
    21st Nov 2018
    11:11am
    I am the smartest of three children ... and the youngest.
    SuziJ
    21st Nov 2018
    11:18am
    My younger sister (#3 of 4) is a TAFE teacher, my older brother (#1 of 4) is a mechanic/truck driver and I'm (#2 of 4) a qualified bookkeeper no longer practicing due to a disability.
    Drewbie
    21st Nov 2018
    4:52pm
    SuziJ, your statement of personal fact, kinda tips the article in question & professional studies quoted in it, exactly like the proverbial upset apple-cart, don't it?

    Cheers!
    Adrianus
    21st Nov 2018
    11:27am
    I'm the eldest of 7 and the least smartest, I think I may have passed them on all my knowledge.
    Karl Marx
    21st Nov 2018
    11:38am
    I am the first born so of course I am more intelligent than all my siblings
    Bristlebird
    21st Nov 2018
    11:49am
    Old Geezer, my twin boys have their time of birth written on their birth certificate so they know who is the oldest. Maybe you should check yours to save arguments!!!
    Old Geezer
    21st Nov 2018
    12:32pm
    Yes we have that but my parents was never sure which one was which so we don't know if we have it right or not. It is a family joke.

    We used to swap girl friends when we were teenagers and have all sorts of fun.
    Cowboy Jim
    21st Nov 2018
    1:27pm
    OG - why did you stop when older? Sounds like fun; of course you have changed with age!
    Old Geezer
    21st Nov 2018
    2:23pm
    Our wives have code words so we can no longer swap.
    KB
    21st Nov 2018
    1:36pm
    No matter order of birth each individual has their own gifts and intelligence.
    Charlie
    21st Nov 2018
    1:47pm
    If the survey was on families that had only one child, then 100% of the CEO's would be first born and the other children would not matter.?
    V1K1
    21st Nov 2018
    1:55pm
    Not only am I first born, I'm also the oldest grandchild on one side of the family. There's heaps and heaps of photos of me with my grandparents, aunts and uncles but hardly any photos of my siblings.
    Bristlebird
    21st Nov 2018
    4:13pm
    Old Geezer, yes it must be such fun to be one of identical twins. My boys (now 46) still get mixed up with people thinking they are they other one. When babies, one of them had a strawberry birthmark on his right eye for a while and the other a strawberry birthmark on his left shoulder. Apparently they are mirror twins!
    Mum
    22nd Nov 2018
    7:02am
    This absolutely is not true in our family.
    ozirules
    22nd Nov 2018
    8:39pm
    what absolute rubbish.....Leon must be hard up for a story.
    hyacinth
    22nd Nov 2018
    11:38pm
    I had three girls.....all individuals ...all highly intelligent. My father was one of nine children. He was the middle child. He became a departmental manager ocer 2000 men in a steelworks that employed 15ooo. That I call is a high achiever.
    musicveg
    25th Nov 2018
    1:31pm
    A load of rubbish, my younger sister is the least adventurous and least active, my older brother never achieved anything. I think it depends more on what your parents are doing at the time and how much time is spent with the kids, how much money they have, and what opportunities are around at the time. Many variations in childrens lives.


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