In the early to mid-1900s, doctor Alfred Adler suggested that birth order had an impact on things like personality. For decades researchers have worked to prove and disprove the reality of birth order characteristics, which has resulted in tons of fun facts about birth order and its impact on the way you act.
Facts About Firstborns and Only Children
Whether you believe birth order affects your personality or not, research supports more findings about firstborn and only children personalities than any other birth positions. Findings include things like how birth order impacts your personality, which in turn impacts your career choice.
- Firstborn children have slightly higher IQs (only about two points) than children in other birth order positions.
- Men who are born earlier in their family are more emotionally stable than younger siblings.
- Kids born in the first position are less likely to smoke cigarettes than their siblings.
- Biology majors in college are more likely to be firstborn children.
- Firstborns are more likely to become CEOs.
- Medical students are more likely to be firstborns or only children.
- Men who are only children take greater financial risks than other men.
- Children without siblings are not more narcissistic than children with siblings.
The Scoop on Second-Borns and Middle Children
Birth order and personality research on second-born children is extremely limited. While there are many myths about middle child personalities, like the existence of Middle Child Syndrome, most studies debunk them.
- Boys in the number two birth position are 20% to 40% more likely to enter the criminal justice system than their older brothers.
- More U.S. Presidents were second-born children than any other birth position.
- Middle children are more resilient than oldest children.
The Lowdown on Last-Born Kids
Last-born kids are the youngest within a family, but they often fall into the category of later-born kids for researchers. Last-born kids and later-born kids can include the fourth child, fifth child, and even the eleventh child, making this group larger than others.
- Later born kids take more risks in sports.
- Younger brothers are 10 times more likely than older brothers to steal bases in Major League Baseball (MLB).
- Later born men are more likely than their older brothers to be attracted to men.
- Girls born in the last position in their family are the least likely to have a parent be their primary source of sex education.
- Later-born children are more likely to major in journalism, business, or art than their older siblings.
- The youngest children have greater cooperative abilities than the oldest children.
- Younger siblings are more likely to report being funny than their older siblings.
Controversy Over Birth Order Theories
As of 2019, a growing body of researchers have started to debunk the idea that birth order effects personality as much as Adler and others suggested. Some experts argue that parental treatment, preconceived notions about birth order traits, and chance are more responsible for these personality characteristics than actual birth order.
Birth Order Discrepancies in Research
It's important to note that researchers have varying definitions of different birth order positions. For example, a child who has one older sibling, but was born 10 years or more after that sibling, may be considered a firstborn child in research. Older studies may also cater to male siblings and count the first boy as a firstborn, despite him having an older sister.
How Birth Affects Life
The circumstances of your birth, including your birth order, can have a big impact on the rest of your life. No matter what causes these quirky differences, people from each birth order position find ways to relate. Which fun facts about birth order and personality ring true for you?