Birthorder Personality

Came across an article on the effect of birth order on one’s personality. For those who don’t know, I’m the “baby” as in second of 2. My brothers 18 months older then me and I’d say these two personality traits are completely 100% reversed on us:


In 2007, Norwegian epidemiologists reported in Science that firstborn children tend to have a slight boost in smarts compared to their younger siblings. The study of 250,000 siblings found that firstborns had a three-point IQ advantage over their closest brother or sister. The second born was one point ahead of the third and, after that, the effect faded.

Most explain the edge by saying that firstborn children have more one-on-one parent time and the responsibility of teaching and taking care of younger siblings. A recent study estimated that firstborns get approximately 3,000 hours more time with their parents between the ages of four and 13 than the younger siblings get when they pass through the same ages. Many think the attention makes them sharp and responsible, with a greater pressure to succeed and do things properly — and then parents tend to loosen up on subsequent kids. It’s hard to back that observation up with evidence but, for example, some note that firstborns on average earn more money and achieve higher education levels. Nobel Prize winners and National Merit scholars are disproportionately made up of firstborns.



Popular wisdom says that the youngest — who never quite shakes the role of being the baby of the family — tends to be more free-spirited, adventurous, risky, and creative.

Youngest siblings often don’t have as many care-taking responsibilities and may have more freedom to do things their own way. Some say families have a kind of Darwinian survival of the fittest principle happening, with each new child having to elbow her way into territory that isn’t already spoken for. A lastborn who comes into a pack of already straight-and-narrow siblings might carve out her own niche by being more spunky and daring.

As with most psychological theories, you probably know some babies of the family who fit this description and others who don’t. The data here is pretty thin, but for example, UC Berkeley researchers found that younger siblings are 1.5 times more likely to take on riskier and more aggressive sports like football. And, in a study of major league baseball players, those who are younger brothers are 10 times more likely to attempt base-stealing and have better batting success than firstborn baseball players. If you can read into sports behavior, that means lastborns are the daredevils of the family.


Granted, my brother is smarter then me, that’s for certain, and true for this survey. His SAT scores could swallow mine for dinner. But, I am in no way the creative, risky, outgoing one., that card belongs to him. I could not be more by the book and straight laced. I don’t push boundaries, I drive the speed limit, my homework is always on time or early, I follow the rules, I am boring. The pressure to succeed is all me not him. He’d be happy living day to day with whatever came his way, as long as music was involved.  My brother could not be more creative, free spirited, and out going.I wonder how we would be different had I been born first and him second….probably not much different, but it’s interesting to think about.

Wonder what that says about your family when you don’t meet the personality traits supposedly assigned to you?

What do you think? Do these fit your personality and birth order?


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