Does Birth Order Shape Who You Become as an Adult?

Does the order of your birth have any bearing on the type of person you become? Study after study seems to show there are similarities in first born children (and only children), middle born children and those who are born last…the babies of the family. What do you think?

First Borns:

Well-known first borns include Kate Middleton, Beyoncé, Emma Watson, Hillary Clinton, Richard Branson, J. K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, and Winston Churchill.

Out of the first 44 presidents of the United States, 24 were first-born children including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Some characteristics attributed to first born children and only children include:

perfectionism, high achiever, loyal, organized (list maker), reliable, self-sacrificing, critical, rule followers, conservative, self-reliant, and serious.

According to economists at the University of Texas in Austin and at Sweden’s Institute for Evaluation of Labor Market and Education Policy, first born children are 30 percent more likely to become leaders, such as CEOs or politicians. They found that firstborns on average are more emotionally stable, persistent, outgoing, responsible, and able to take initiative than their later-born siblings. Research published in the Journal of Human Resources found that firstborn children outperform their younger siblings on cognitive tests starting from infancy. Wonder why? They are often better set up for academic and intellectual success thanks to the type of parenting they experience.

Parents were shown to invest more time creating rules and being strict with their first child. As a result, unique qualities develop that make them great leaders, such as intelligence and the ability to manage teams.

Middle Borns:

Well known middle borns include Kim Kardashian, Madonna, Martin Luther King, Bill Gates, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and Princess Diana.

Some characteristics attributed to middle born children include: mediators, conflict-avoiders, misunderstood, balanced, good listeners, outgoing, absentminded, carefree, affectionate, rebellious, temperamental, charming, independent.

Middle born children have been shown to be more co-operative, flexible, and sociable. They make and sustain friendships easily. As a result of the often-lowered expectations from their parents, middle born children can be less ambitious than their older brothers and sisters, and also have a more relaxed attitude throughout their lives. Middle children often receive less attention than their other siblings, which prompts them to seek out relationships and friendships outside of their family, which leads them to be perceived as social butterflies.


Well known last borns include Cameron Diaz, Harry Styles, Ryan Gosling, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, and Johnny Depp.

Some characteristics attributed to last born children include: fun-loving, uncomplicated, manipulative, outgoing, attention-seeking, self-centered, highly social, confident, creative, good at problem solving, adept at getting others to do things for them.

Youngest children are oftentimes likable and charismatic. They are generally more creative than older siblings and have a stronger sense of well-being and confidence. Parents tend to be a lot less strict and more lenient with their youngest children. By the same token, parents’ expectations are often lower for their youngest children. Because of this, the youngest children will generally be less responsible and mature than their older siblings, as they are used to others taking the lead.

Every child has his or her role to play within the family and will develop his or her own strategy to master life. Regardless of the studies and statistics, birth order doesn’t dictate who a person will become or how successful they can be. Each person has their own set of personal circumstances and a great deal of free will which will allow them to be whoever they decide to be…whether they came first, second, third or beyond.


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