Forget who gets the car, birth order may impact your career
If only the kids would get along, instead of blaming everything on their brothers or sisters.
But the reality is that all siblings aren't created equal and they don't get treated as such. Firstborns, for example, often get shafted because parents are stricter with them, while later-born kids often have fewer rules to cope with.
Now, however, it turns out that those first-born kids are the most likely to earn six figures and hold a top executive position among workers with siblings, according to findings from jobs website CareerBuilder.
Meanwhile, middle kids are the most likely to report holding an entry-level spot and earning less than $35,000.
First borns tend to be drawn to government positions and science, CareerBuilder reports. Middle children lean toward public service and care-taking roles while the youngest in families prefer more creative roles and technology.
When it comes to annual earnings for men, firstborns earn about 1.2% more than second children, and about 2.8% more than third children. For women, firstborns earn about 4.2% more than secondborns, and about 6.6% more than thirdborns.
But if it's just a brother or sister in play, parents needn't worry as much. According to New York University professor Dalton Conley, birth order is really a red herring in two-child families.
In his book "The Pecking Order: Which Siblings Succeed and Why," he says it’s only when the second born becomes the middle child in a family of three or more that birth order starts to matter.
Ask my daughters.
Is this the way things play out in your family? Is the first born the big earner? Or have you managed to break the pattern somehow?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: Elmo | Oct 5, 2021 9:32:37 PM
Another piece of crock survey. I'm the middle child and have earned more than both my older and younger siblings throughout my entire working life. It's called career decisions and work ethics... birth order has nothing to do with it.
Posted by: Dr. J. Lindon | Oct 5, 2021 11:46:25 PM
I was the first born in my family. My brother is 4 years younger. I make $450,000 per year, my brother barely makes $50,000. I was raised very strictly. My parents were poor. I was told who I could make friends with, what music I could listen to, and on and on. My brother had all the freedom.
Posted by: Rob | Oct 6, 2021 1:17:57 AM
I'm thinking the good doctor has some issues and that his "poor" brother likely has more friends and the girls like him better too.
Posted by: Steve | Oct 6, 2021 6:29:04 AM
Looks like another Cosmo article accidentally found it's way into the everyday money blog.
But to answer the authors question, the eldest of my siblings earns the least, my older brother had the highest earned income but a lower net income than us younger ones. And it cost him more to earn his money. And he spent more of his life earning his money. And his high paying career took a heavy toll on his health. And he enjoyed his money less when he did get it.
BUT Yeah, he earned more than I. Luckily it's what you make that counts, not what you keep, right? Am I bitter that his daughter saw him little when she was young and not at all through her teen years? Yup.. But he did earn MORE MONEY !
Perhaps an article on work / life balance for the 99% crowd?
Posted by: Dr. J. Lindon | Oct 6, 2021 7:48:29 AM
@Rob. Ah, yes there must always be the likes of you who need to make such stupid comments to make themselves feel better. Yes, I do have issues with all of my brother's friends. Drug dealers and others he met while doing time. When I "deal" drugs, it is legal and improves peoples lives. Furthermore, I use the head on my shoulders. It seems that you only use the one between your legs.
Posted by: J.J. Selting | Oct 6, 2021 10:16:56 AM
Total Crap. I'm the last child and I make more than my 2 older siblings. No I'm not a doctor or a lawyer but in the technology field. In fact we're all pretty much equaly in our earnings and pretty successful. It's your carrer choice and assertiveness you have to get ahead. Lastly, 6.6% more from first born to third in the worst case scenario. Thats $6600 if you make 100k. Big deal.
Posted by: J.B | Oct 6, 2021 12:16:55 PM
I'm the second child in a family of four. I am the only one who went to college and has a post-secondary career and makes over 35,000$/yr. This is complete crap and the only accurate thing about this is the fact that I am in a care-giving role. My older sibling is not in science or government positions either. Don't believe everything you read!!! It's the choices you make that determine what you do...
Posted by: CM | Oct 6, 2021 12:24:02 PM
I wonder if the author/statistician has accounted for the fact that, by definition, the older sibling has been in the work force for longer. As most people's incomes rise as they age I would fully expect an older sibling, on average, to earn more than a younger sibling. This however does not mean they are any more successful, they have just been working at it for longer.
Posted by: Sad | Oct 6, 2021 2:24:31 PM
Parents spend a relatively more time teaching a first born child everything from using toys to riding a bike. They want to do it right. It is also novel. By the third child, my parents, who may have been especially daft, didn't have the interest in teaching me much. Four years between myself and the oldest (male) is quite a bit of development and at 8 he was twice my age. Also, as with many families, my parents had an ugly divorce when I was 13/14. My brothers got through puberty unscathed. My indifferent mother took a tropical vacation when I was near death from anorexia at 16. Lovely. The only benefit I have found it that by not being encouraged by either parents or siblings, I have not adopted their sexist, conservative 'values'. Yes my brother makes six figures and I am in creative/technology fields.
Posted by: Dana | Oct 6, 2021 2:45:36 PM
Although my siblings and I are all quite young still (ranging from 21 to 26), it does not appear that this stat will hold true. I am the middle child and the only one pursuing secondary education. The eldest sister earns the most right now, second being my younger brother. That being said, that will probably change once I'm done school.
Posted by: Betty | Oct 6, 2021 3:03:42 PM
We had 7 children in our family and the wage earnings are all over the place. My oldest sister made more but never married until later in her life and so never had children or reposibilities.The youngest did post secondary, had a good job and married quitting her job and is doing very well. Rest of us have earned good money at different times in our lives. I have 3 children and all make above average incomes but the youngest making the best in the medical field.
Posted by: Alix | Oct 6, 2021 4:11:08 PM
no not the case, I am youngest and earn more than both my older siblings. I also struggled with a learning disability and always thought my mother thought I was not going to make much with my life, so was motivated to prove to myself I could be successful. Earn well above six figures
Posted by: Cheryl | Oct 6, 2021 6:23:33 PM
I don't believe this article to be true at all. I am the middle kid (2nd oldest out of 4 siblings) and earn more than my older sibling. I believe I am very over-qualified for my job description and have made it a lot more further in my life than my older sibling. I am married, with my own house and car and a child, whereas my older sibling rents a basement suite, isn't married, no kids, no car mostly because there's no drivers license, and works in a mall.
Posted by: sideshowbob | Oct 6, 2021 10:07:58 PM
I agree with the survey.Just look at how many US presidents are 1st borns...
Posted by: Terry | Oct 6, 2021 11:20:08 PM
The pattern holds true in our family ... well sort of. It is easier being the oldest.
Posted by: jackie | Oct 7, 2021 12:14:03 AM
I had three children and they all have 2 degrees and all make about the same amount of Money, One's a Nurse the Middle one's teacher and Journeyman Machinist, the youngest is an Occupational Therapist, I'm the youngest of 4, none of us had formal Education but we all did really well by working hard....
Posted by: Brenda | Oct 7, 2021 8:23:16 AM
Not so true in our families. Although our youngest son was overlooked when it came time to teach him his colors and numbers before kindergarden...(the first was taught to read before school and by the fourth child I completely forgot about teaching these things)... which took its toll in school, the first three have done well but especially the third. Each one has such different abilities and it's just that the skill the 3rd has is better paid and is basically recession-proof as opposed to the career selected by our first. In my own family the skills and abilities also very varied, and two of us chose paths that are basically recession-proof. The first-born did not.
Posted by: To Rob: | Oct 7, 2021 9:14:10 AM
The brother will have many bad friends, which I wouldn't want and the only girlfriends he will get will be not be good either, std factories.
I'd go with the good doctor myself.
Posted by: Younger Sister | Oct 7, 2021 11:03:11 AM
If you were to exactly reverse what was said in the article, that would describe my older brother and I. I am a Statistician and have worked in Government and other technical roles. I definately make more than my brother, who hasn't seemed to get it together yet. My parents weren't "stricter" with him, but they were "harder" on him, if that makes any sense. There are only the two of us, so neither of us has the "middle child" syndrome.
Posted by: Pete | Oct 7, 2021 6:12:12 PM
This isn't anything new--as mentioned, it's well known that the vast majority of US presidents are first born (from years when families were a lot bigger, even). So if you are a parent do you accept that your older, risk taking, outgoing child will outdo your quieter, creative younger child in life? My younger son is a lot smarter than my older daughter but she has way better leadership and people skills; I often joke that he'll be a doctor or lawyer but he'll work for someone like my daughter. I can see where the differences might arise but I don't know if parenting can even it out. I certainly don't think it is cast in stone. I make triple my older brother's income. So when my daughter is particularly nasty to my son I remind him that we are second but we try harder (but even optimistically, I don't think it is an issue of just trying harder..)