If you’re the youngest sibling in your family you know a few things to be true: Your older sibling will always know when you steal something from their room, and your oldest sibling is far, far more organized than you.
And, that’s not just our opinion, it’s a scientific fact.
In 2015, YouGov conducted a research project evaluating if long-held beliefs about birth order and what effect they have on personality traits really hold water. According to the findings, every stereotype of the oldest being the most responsible and the youngest being the rabble-rouser is true.
“In short, it turns out to be true that the oldest child in a family feels a greater weight of responsibility, while the youngest child feels a higher level of breathing room,” the study’s authors wrote.
To come to this conclusion, YouGov polled 1,782 British citizens on their opinions on personality traits of siblings. For the poll, the team split out the first and last born siblings in British families with more than one child, which represents 86 percent of the population.
Fifty-four percent of first borns said they are more responsible than their siblings, compared to 31 percent of last borns. Younger siblings also touted themselves as the funniest in their family, with 46 percent saying they were the family comedian compared to 36 percent of elder siblings saying no, they were in fact that funny one.
In the survey, younger siblings were identified as the most relaxed, while older siblings were identified as not only more responsible but also more successful, organized and self-confident too.
But, according to clinical psychologist Linda Blair, author of Birth Order: what your position in the family really tells you about your character, we should be taking these survey results with a giant grain of salt.
“...there is no proof behind such wide generalizations for humanity. It’s not possible,” she told The Guardian. “But there will be certain tendencies. There is no other influence on us for as long in our lives. Our parents are unlikely to live for as long as our siblings. The effect is like dripping water on a stone. It does make a difference.” Blair, an elder sibling herself, added, “Little Miss Helper Out, I’m the first. Oh dear, oh dear, I’ll help you. I’ll sort your life out.”
But hey, what do I know, I’m the youngest so I’m just too relaxed to be worried about survey results. I’ll leave that up to my older sister.