SURVEY SAYS: Birth Order and Career Success

Studies indicate that first-born children and only children tend to be more successful in their careers than middle children or the last-born.

By Rebecca Moore | September 26, 2016
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Last week, I asked NewsDash readers in which birth order they fall, and whether this finding is true in their families.

More responding readers reported being a first-born child (38.6%) than any other category. Nearly 31% are middle-children, 26.3% are last-borns and 4.4% are only children.

Among responding readers that are not only children, 28.2% indicated that the first-born in their family is most successful in his/her career, while 19.1% said it is a middle child, and 17.3% said the last-born is most successful. A tie between first-born and a middle-child or children was reported by 6.4% of respondents, as was a tie between first-born and last-born. A tie between a middle-child or children and last-born was reported by 9.1% of respondents, as was a tie between all three.

Two things came out of comments left by readers who chose to do so: Many NewsDash readers come from large families, and many have opinions about this subject. Yes, my question left respondents to decide what the definition of career success is, and a number of readers pointed out that the answer to my question depends on how one defines career success. Also, if the verbatim comments are any indication, the studies’ findings are NOT the norm. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “First and middle are successful in our chosen careers and financially, youngest is an old hippy living in the woods little stress or debt. Maybe he is most successful.” 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!