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Birth Order Seems To Predict Your Level Of Success — Dave’s Diary

I’ll admit I have been accurately called out as being a “middle child.” The stereotype is that of someone who acts out to seek attention. Me? But the analysis goes deeper than that, leading to the real question: How does birth order determine who is more successful in their careers?

All men may be created equal, but a look at their pay stubs will tell you that their incomes are not. Research shows that firstborns (and onlys) lead the pack in terms of educational attainment, occupational prestige, income and net worth. Conversely middle children in large families tend to fare the worst. (Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!) Here’s a look at what impact your birth order may have on you (from

  • Firstborns: More conscientious, ambitious and aggressive than their younger siblings, firstborns are over-represented at Harvard and Yale as well as disciplines requiring higher education such as medicine, engineering or law. Every astronaut to go into space has been either the oldest child in his or her family or the eldest male. And throughout history — even when large families were the norm — more than half of all Nobel Prize winners and U.S. presidents have been firstborns.
  • Middles: Middle children are more easygoing and peer-oriented. Since they can get lost in the shuffle of their own families, they learn to build bridges to other sources of support and therefore tend to have excellent people skills. Middle children often take on the role of mediator or peacemaker.
  • Youngest: The youngest child tends to be the most creative and can be very charming — even manipulative. They often identify with the underdog.
  • Only children: Only children have similar characteristics to firstborns and are frequently burdened with high parental expectations. Research shows they are more confident, articulate and likely to use their imagination than other children. They also expect a lot from others, hate criticism, can be inflexible and are likely to be perfectionists.
  • Twins: Because they hold equal status and are treated so similarly, twins turn out similarly in most cases. Consider advice columnists “Dear Abby” and “Ann Landers” (Abigail and Esther Friedman), and Harold and Bernard Shapiro, who became presidents of Princeton University and Canada’s McGill University respectively.

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