Characteristics of first born children

Jeffrey Kluger, Science Journalist & Author, explains how results of recent studies on first born children and some of the positive and negative characteristics they often posses
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Characteristics of first born children

First borns hit the birth order jackpot in a lot of ways. They tend to be taller, they tend to be physically healthier – this is in part because at least in our agrarian past, they had a head start on food and when the other kids came along, they had to share a limited supply of it. Even now though, first borns tend to be vaccinated on better, more reliable schedules, they tend to go back to doctors for follow up visits more – a lot of this is because when other kids come along parents become a little less anxious about every small problem and don’t rush the kids to the doctor. And well, sometimes, they should be taking them to the doctor. So first borns get an edge in that also. First borns tend to have a three point IQ advantage over second borns. And second borns in turn have a 1.5 IQ advantage over third borns. This is because first borns: a – have a little bit of time with the exclusive attention of their parents so they get… they learn faster, they develop better vocabularies faster, they develop a grasp of the world faster. They also mentor their second and third borns when they come along, which is a good way of reinforcing the intellect. We see this play out later in life. First borns are likelier to be CEOs, they’re likelier to be member of Congress. 21 out of the first 23 American astronauts were either first borns or only children, who were effective first borns for their entire lives. So we see that this small edge very early on yields big dividends throughout the entire trajectory of the first borns’ life.

Jeffrey Kluger, Science Journalist & Author, explains how results of recent studies on first born children and some of the positive and negative characteristics they often posses


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Jeffrey Kluger

Science Journalist & Author

Jeffrey Kluger is a senior editor and writer at Time magazine, covering science, health and other fields. He is the coauthor, along with astronaut Jim Lovell, of Apollo 13, the book that served as the basis of the 1995 movie. His more-recent release, Splendid Solution, told the story of Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine.  His novel, Nacky Patcher and the Curse of the Dry-Land Boats, was published in June 2007, and his newest nonfiction book, Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex, was published in June 2008.

Before coming to Time, Kluger worked for Discover magazine, where he was a senior editor and humor columnist. Prior to that, he was health editor at Family Circle magazine, story editor at The New York Times Business World Magazine, and Associate Editor at Science Digest magazine. His features and columns have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Gentlemen's Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Omni, McCall's, New York Magazine, The New York Post, Newsday, and, of course, Time. He has worked as an adjunct instructor in the graduate journalism program at New York University; is a licensed—though non-practicing—attorney; and is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore School of Law. He lives in New York City with his wife Alejandra and their daughters, Elisa and Paloma.

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