Friday, February 01, 2008

Does Birth Order Confer Advantages?

There has been some compelling evidence recently to suggest that birth order really does matter when it comes to success in life. Of course one has to define success and for each of us that definition may be a little different. Being firstborn myself I was interested in the latest research. The firstborn appears to succeed more frequently while the less fortunate sibling does not. Of course everybody knows of cases that prove this false but in general would you agree or disagree?

Here are a few statistics: 43% of CEO's are firstborns, 33% are middle-borns and 23% are last-borns. Older siblings are disproportionately represented among surgeons and MBA's. Firstborns tend to earn more than later-borns with income dropping 1% for every step down in the birth order.

A study done in Norway showed that firstborns have a higher IQ than their younger siblings by an average of three points which correlates into a big SAT score difference. Studies from the Phillipines showed that firstborns tend to be taller and heavier.

Let's look at a few notable examples. Bill Clinton had a less than successful brother Roger. Remember he was a drunk and went to jail for awhile. Teddy Roosevelt had an alcoholic younger brother Elliott. But some of history's greatest satirists, Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, and Voltaire were the younger members of their families.

So based on your experiences not only in your own families but those around you, is there substance to any of this?