New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

The Effect of Birth Order on the Probability of University Enrolment

Radim Kuba, Charles University (Czech Republic)

Jaroslav Flegr, Charles University - National Institute of Mental Health (Czech Republic)

Jiri Havlíček, Charles University - National Institute of Mental Health (Czech Republic)


The birth order influences various psychological characteristics ranging from personality traits to sexual behaviour. Yet while many studies suggest that firstborn children are likely to achieve a higher educational level than their siblings, other studies reported no such effect. In the present study, we have tested the effect of birth order on educational achievements. We collected birth-order data from two cohorts of biology students (Study 1: students from 1990‒1995, N = 271; Study 2: students from 2011‒2017, N = 2049) at the Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. The proportion of firstborns in both cohorts was compared to population data obtained from the Czech Statistical Office and controlled for sex and family size. In both groups of students, we found a significantly higher proportion of firstborns than in the general population. In Study 1 we expected firstborns to form 44.8% of the cohort but found 63.1%. In Study 2, the expected proportion of firstborns was 48.1%, while the proportion actually found was 64.0%. We have also observed a considerable influence of family size on the size of the birth-order effect. Comparison between the two cohorts had also shown that over the last two decades, overrepresentation of firstborns had significantly declined, which probably reflects a decrease in the stringency of entrance examinations to the Faculty of Science over the past two decades. Our results support previous findings regarding the advantage of firstborns in educational achievements. By comparing the two cohorts 20 years apart, this study also offers a unique opportunity to evaluate the birth-order effect in relation to sociodemographic changes over a certain time period. In particular, our study demonstrates that the birth-order effect is robust enough to withstand the dramatic changes in university attendance in present-day Czech Republic.

Keywords: firstborn, sibling constellation, family constellation, birth-order effect, education, schooling;

Back to the list


Reserved area

Media Partners:

Click BrownWalker Press logo for the International Academic and Industry Conference Event Calendar announcing scientific, academic and industry gatherings, online events, call for papers and journal articles
Pixel - Via Luigi Lanzi 12 - 50134 Firenze (FI) - VAT IT 05118710481
    Copyright © 2024 - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy