Study finds birth order affects dating success

A graphic from the PlentyOfFish study suggests that birth order is correlated to success in finding a relationship on the website. Credit: PlentyOfFish
A graphic from the PlentyOfFish study suggests that birth order is correlated to success in finding a relationship on the website.
Credit: PlentyOfFish

A new study finds that middle child syndrome carries over into the dating world.

According to a report by dating site PlentyOfFish, middle children were least likely to leave the site in a relationship, while younger siblings were less likely to pursue higher education. Finally, singles without siblings were less likely to pursue higher education and make an income over $50K in comparison to those with siblings.

In contrast, firstborn children statistically come out on top across the board. Not only are they more likely to leave the dating site in a relationship as compared to the average user, but also are most likely to make an income over $100,000 a year, and most likely to pursue higher education. PlentyOfFish collected data from 7.6 million subjects; the users ranged in age from 25 to 45 and reside in Canada and the U.S., ages 25-45.

There were some variations on the statistics depending on how many siblings each user had: for example, firstborns with two younger siblings were about 5 percent more likely to find a relationship through the site, while those with three younger siblings were about 9 percent more likely. Additionally, as the number of siblings in a family with multiple children increases, the likelihood that the children will pursue a bachelor’s degree decreases.

“The one finding that surprised me was single children, that they had disadvantages in income size, pursuit of higher education and in finding a relationship. I was also surprised that family size had an influence,” said PlentyOfFish public relations manager and dating coach Sarah Gooding. For example, she pointed out: “In a family of two, the youngest child is 3 percent more likely to pursue a PhD., while in a family of three children, the youngest child is 11 percent less likely.”

Gooding also spoke to the motivation behind the study. “The PlentyOfFish research team is constantly working to make improvements on our matching algorithms, to help find matches for successful relationships,” she said. “This study was fascinating for many reasons, but our motivation is always to help our users to find a match and leave the site in happy and fulfilling relationships.”

“I have looked at other studies around birth orders and they do seem to suggest that firstborns have advantages in terms of income and higher education, and our study supports that. The PlentyOfFish study, however, also suggests that firstborns have an advantage when it comes to finding a relationship,” Gooding concluded.


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