A study has concluded that second-born children are more likely to end up getting in trouble at school or having issues with the law later in life — a finding that is sure to bring much pleasure to older siblings everywhere.
Researchers from MIT, Northwestern University and the University of Florida (plus a few other institutions) followed thousands of sets of brothers in Denmark and the state of Florida — two dramatically different cultures.
They found that second-born boys in both locations were more apt to run afoul of authority figures than their older peers.
“Despite large differences in environments across the two areas, we find remarkably consistent results: In families with two or more children, second-born boys are on the order of 20 to 40 percent more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys even when we compare siblings,” the authors wrote in the study.
The Connection Between Birth Order And Crime
So, why does birth order affect the likelihood of criminality?
The study authors theorize that this higher risk of delinquency could be due to the fact that second-born children do not receive the one-on-one focus and supervision that their older siblings did. (“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”, anyone?)
The authors also point to the fact that parents take more time off work when they have their first child compared to when they have their second child.
Second-borns, in other words, are not only competing with their older sibling for attention but also competing with careers and other responsibilities.