- sibling rivalry April 29
Apparently, when your older sister was always saying she was better than you, she was telling the truth.
A recent study [PDF] by Feifei Bu at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Britain's University of Essex seems to show that if you are a female and the oldest child in a family, you are "statistically more likely to be the most ambitious and well-qualified of all your family," The Guardian reports. The runners-up are firstborn males. The study also found that the wider the gap in ages between children, the more likely it is the younger children will become high achievers.
The researchers studied 1,503 sibling groups and 3,532 individuals. Taking into account the education and professional status of the parents, the team found that firstborn children were 7 percent more likely to continue their education, and firstborn girls were 13 percent more ambitious than firstborn boys.
"There are several possible explanations for the higher attainment and ambition of the eldest," Bu says. "It could be that the parents simply devote more time and energy to them — it could be they are actually more intelligent. For me, I tend to lean towards the theory that parental investment is possibly at work there."
Some famous examples of firstborns doing well for themselves are Presidents Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, JK Rowling, Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger, and Richard Branson.- - Catherine Garcia
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- How to be charismatic, according to science
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
Subscribe to the Week