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Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Sheryl Sandberg, Hillary Clinton — each of these iconic women also happens to be the oldest child in her family. New research suggests this may not be a coincidence; a study conducted by the University of Essex found that firstborn women are more ambitious and more likely to pursue grad-school degrees than their younger siblings are.
Researchers culled data on educational achievement and personality from 1,503 British families — a total of 3,552 people. They found that all firstborn children are more likely to self-identify as "accomplished" and "ambitious" than their siblings. But, firstborn girls were 13% more likely to aspire to attend graduate school than any other group — regardless of the number (or gender) of their siblings. The research also showed that the larger the age gap between siblings, the more likely all siblings were to aspire to higher education.
So, why are firstborns more likely to be rock stars? Several factors come to mind that could contribute to this finding. For example: Second, third, or fourth children might bear the brunt of their family's money problems (real or perceived), which might preclude grad school as a realistic option. Or, it might be that younger siblings find it discouraging to live in the shadow of the eldest — keeping them from "shooting for the stars" in terms of education. Either way, you firstborns now officially have one more thing to rub in your sibs' faces. (Time)