Birth Order Influences Reproductive Measures in Australians

Fritha Milne, Debra Judge

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    We examine the relationship between birth order and reproductive behaviors in a sample of Australian residents, accounting for personality, personal achievements, and family structure. Using generalized linear models and survival analyses we build predictive models for each reproductive measure and test those models on an independent data subset. Compared with functional firstborns (middle-borns more than 5 years younger than their next older sibling), male middle-borns and last-born females had younger ages of first sexual intercourse, and middle-born females had a younger age at first pregnancy. There was no difference in females’ age at first birth. Male middle-borns tended to have an older average age at first birth. Controlling for age, both male and female middle-borns had fewer children. Overall, middle-borns differ more from functional firstborns than do last-borns. Given the significant but small effect sizes demonstrated in this study, we suggest that developmental characteristics that may facilitate middle-borns’ success within the natal family carry slight fitness costs during the reproductive years.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)294-316
    JournalHuman Nature
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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