Families can be tough. And now there’s statistical proof.
There’s a new book out called “The Pecking Order: Which Siblings Succeed and Why” by Dalton Conley, Director of Social Science Research at New York University. And in his studies, Conley found that a child’s place in the family is a strong predictor of how their life will turn out in the long run. He based his research on data from hundreds of thousands of families. So the next time you’re munching on a drumstick at Thanksgiving dinner, think about a few of these.
- Those with the worst chance for financial success are middle children and children with skin darker than their siblings.
- In large families, the struggle for attention from the parents creates identities that stick through adulthood. Kids from large families feel more pressure to stand out either by achieving more or by rebelling and causing trouble.
- And in families with 3 or more kids, there will often be a drastic difference in the kids’ financial outcome. One sibling tends to be a lot richer than the others.
- When it comes to divorce, it’s hardest on the eldest child. Especially if the eldest is a daughter, because she’ll often have to take on more housework, take care of younger siblings, and give emotional support to the single parent. That oldest daughter often gets trapped in that sacrifice role and ends up having a harder life than her younger siblings.
- In families with a stay-at-home mom, brothers are more likely to get college degrees than their sisters. When the mother works outside the home, those differences disappear.
But Conley wants everyone to know that these are statistics, not the rule. So any predicted outcome can be changed.