Oldest? Youngest? Middle? Here’s What Your Birth Order Says About You

Are firstborn kids really destined to be more successful than their siblings? Do all middle children have jealousy issues? If you’re the baby of the family, are you as naturally hilarious as you think you are? According to research, there's evidence to back up these clichés. So relax, parents: Nature may triumph over nurture—or at least steal its favorite toy just to watch it scream. Here's what your birth order says about you.

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marcia brady bunch girls sibling order
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If You’re The Oldest…

You're likely a natural-born leader. Responsible, obedient and loyal, you're likelier to pursue higher education than your younger sibs. And up to 30 percent likelier to land a management position like CEO (and with it, a higher salary) than later-born children. You may read at least an hour a day more than your younger siblings. And have a higher IQ. Boom. But hold up: What’s the reason behind all these apparent advantages? If you guessed “parental pressure,” you’d be right (as usual). A firstborn child’s “inexperienced, loving parents, often have very high expectations for him,” writes one expert. Held to a higher standard and eager to please, “The firstborn child can end up feeling very pressured to succeed and become a perfectionist, often equating love with success.”

jan brady bunch girls sibling order
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If You’re The Middle Child…

Middle children “are far less likely than their siblings to be in therapy, get divorced or be neurotic," say the authors of The Secret Power of Middle Children. Peacekeeping and empathetic, you are probably a great team player. But hey, Miss Independent: You can be a leader, too. Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Madonna and Martin Luther King Jr.? All middle children. Patient, social and open to compromise, you are likely an excellent negotiator (see also that thing about being less likely to get divorced). On the flip side, there’s also a whole “syndrome” devoted to your overlooked place in the pecking order. Middles have a hard time saying no and “have lower self-esteem than other birth orders because of their lack of uniqueness and attention at home,” writes expert Katrin Schumann. They’re also more likely to be arrested (!) than their siblings. And on a related note, moms of middles, gird your loins: “Middleborns are less likely to turn to their parents for help in an emergency.”

cindy brady bunch girls sibling order
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If You’re The Youngest…

You’re likelier to take risks and be open to new experiences. Hence your rep as a rebel. You’re also more relaxed and easygoing than your siblings (and with less discipline but lots of parental attention, why wouldn’t you be?) and more likely to seek out an artistic occupation—or work in sales. In short, you’re the life of the party. But “babies” of the family are often treated as helpless out of habit—and frequently for far too long. As a result, youngest sibs are found to be the most financially irresponsible. On the upside, you may be just as funny as you think you are. Want indisputable evidence? Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Eddie Murphy and Stephen Colbert are all the youngest kids in their families.