Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

Does Your Birth Order Affect What You’re Like As An Adult?

Some experts believe birth order — whether we’re the eldest, the middle child or the baby — has an effect on who we become later in life. Is there any truth to that?

Can birth order really affect your personality? While it’s not an exact science, a lot of what they say adds up. Parents typically look at how this affects their kids, but how does it affect who you are as an adult? First, let’s take a look at some typical characteristics of birth order, according to Dr. Kevin Leman’s 2004 The Birth Order Book — Why You Are The Way You Are .

First-born (and only children)

  • Perfectionist
  • Achiever
  • Conscientious
  • Loyal
  • Well-organized (list-makers)
  • Reliable
  • Goal-oriented
  • Self-sacrificing
  • Critical
  • Conservative
  • Scholarly
  • Rule-followers (and makers)
  • Inferiority issues
  • Self-reliant
  • Serious

Middle children

  • Mediators
  • Conflict-avoiders
  • Peer-centric
  • Feel misunderstood
  • Balanced
  • Listeners


  • Outgoing
  • Absentminded
  • Carefree
  • Affectionate
  • Rebellious
  • Temperamental
  • Spoiled
  • Impatient
  • Charming
  • Manipulative
  • Independent

* Only children are reportedly similar to first-borns, but much more so, and often a bit more self-centered.


Your birth order doesn’t inherently affect whether you’ll get or stay married, but when compared to your spouse, it could affect other things. Marrying someone who has the same birth order as you means you need to look out for certain kinds of problems.

  • Two first-borns may have a power struggle.
  • Two middle children may have communication problems.
  • Two babies may have chaos in the form of money problems and other domestic issues — someone has to be responsible for paying the bills!

In general, marrying someone who’s opposite you has good results, though. First-borns or middle children and babies make a great pair. But the best pairing seems to be first-borns and middle children.


CareerBuilder did a study in 2011 on how birth order affects your career. It should come as no surprise that first-borns are the most likely to have a top executive position and bring down six figures. Those three IQ points could make the difference between a high B average and a low A average, which could affect admission to better schools. Plus, first-borns have been leaders all their lives.

Interestingly, the study found that middle children, rather than being middle on the list job-wise, are the most likely to hold an entry-level position and make less than $35,000 a year. The babes are actually the ones most likely to work in middle management.

Birth order doesn’t determine your lot in life

Regardless of the averages (and that’s all these are), birth order doesn’t determine who you become or how successful you can be. Theses stats are largely the results of behaviors you develop as a result of what’s expected of people in your position. And behaviors can be modified!


Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.