If you’ve ever wondered whether or not your leadership abilities stemmed from your experience as a diplomatic middle child, you’re on the right track. An interesting study found strong links between birth order and career choice.
For the study, a team of statisticians analyzed a random sample of more than 500 of the most successful individuals from 11 different career groups to identify statistically significant patterns. The results showed that birth order is correlated with career choice—as well as some other traits. For example, how birth-order can impact your health, as well.
The researchers found that middle children were 30 percent more likely to become CEO of a company than average, a stat they attributed to the middle child’s inherent competitiveness, flexibility, and diplomacy. (If you’re a middle child and think you have middle child syndrome, think again, middle children have many hidden powers.)
Other statistical outliers were only children, who were 181 percent more likely to become artists than anyone else—perhaps because of their “perfectionist and mature personality traits,” and youngest children, who were 50 percent more likely to be composers than their older siblings—attribute that to their “sensitive and idealistic personality traits.” Older children tended to enjoy the limelight and were more likely to be both rock stars and reality TV stars. Fifty percent of all astronauts are first-born children.
“The research conducted over the last month has shown that birth order is a significant factor in determining employment role types between siblings—overall there are far more typical cases than exceptions,” said psychologist Emma Kenny, who led the study.
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, shutterstock
The size of a family has an impact too, the study found. “Explorers,” as the researchers called them, came from families 86 percent larger than average. Scientists also tended to hail from larger families.
And who are the politicians among us? That prize goes to those diplomatic middle children, who are more than 16 percent more likely to go into the field than anyone else.