if they are the oldest or only child!
Statistics show that first-born women are more likely to be the most ambitious and well-qualified in a family. They’re 13% more likely to to aspire to further education than first-born boys and both these groups were 16% more likely to attend further education than their siblings.
Who are these women? They include Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Christine Largarde, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, Beyoncé, and JK Rowling.
Previous research has shown first-born or only male children to be more successful than their siblings e.g. Bill Clinton, Mick Jagger, Barack Obama, and all the 12 men who walked on the moon. First born male children are often found in leadership positions.
Another interesting fact from the research (carried out at the Institute for Social and Economic research at the University of Essex) was that children were more likely to be high achievers if there was a four-year gap between siblings.
The research used data from over 3,500 siblings in the British Household Panel survey.
So while it’s clear that birth order has an effect on educational attainment the causes are less clear. Could it be that parents devote more time and energy to first-born or only children? Could these children be more intelligent?
The researcher, Feifei Bu, who produced the study believes the differences are probably due to parental investment.
She also found nothing to suggest that middle children were left out. In fact a recent book claimed that middle children were the more successful in a family.
Other research at the same university has found that girls who attended grammar school earn 20% more than girls who attended comprehensive schools.
They are 25% more likely to complete their “A” level examinations and stay in full-time education longer. They also have fewer children.
Male children who attend grammar schools also stay in education longer and double their chances of getting a degree but this had no impact on earnings or fertility by the time they reached 50.