Have you ever blamed something on your sibling to cover up a lie you told? Chances are, you are an older sibling deflecting the attention onto your younger brother or sister because you know your parents will take your side over theirs. Older siblings are just inherently better. While many may object to this notion (those being younger siblings I presume), the reality is, it’s the truth. First off, younger siblings look up to their older siblings for support and as role models. However, this means that they are much more gullible than any older sibling would ever be. In fact, I recall a time when my sister was taking forever to do her laundry so I bribed her saying that I would give her a cookie if she finished within five minutes. Four minutes later precisely, my sister appears in front of me demanding the cookie. Of course I had none, as we almost never had cookies lAying about in our house. My sister got mad at me and huffed away. While some may say that’s mean and unfair for my sister, they are undoubtedly a single child or have never had to live with a younger sibling. Don’t get me wrong, younger siblings can attempt to bribe their older siblings too, but the dynamic just does not work in their favor.

While there are many more responsibilities that are placed on the eldest child, this inevitably makes us more competent and even favored later on. Starting at a young age we had to do the chores forced on us by our parents. However, as we grew older, we noticed that our parents did not force those same actions on the little siblings. “Sometimes I get annoyed that my sister gets away with things I would have never gotten away with,” states Sai-Ming Wenger, the oldest child in her family. However, she does point out that while her parents may not force certain chores on her sister, she does by bossing her around. While this dynamic is quite common, older siblings also enjoy being a role model for the other members of their family. “I like being an older sibling because I can watch out for my younger sisters and lead by example,” states Cecily Rosenhan, the oldest of three in her family. Even when it may not seem like it the eldest child is looking out for their younger siblings. 

While this debate may seem like personal preference, there is evidence to back up the argument.  A study done by Sandra Black in a report for the American National Bureau of Economic Research states that the overall findings show that older siblings tend to be more intelligent, have better personalities, make a higher income, and have better mental health than others. Overall older siblings are characterized as high achievers who will, in the long run, end up being smarter and richer than their younger siblings. Black believes that the eldest child may have had “the full attention of parents, but as families grow the family environment is diluted and parental resources become scarcer.” Typically, the eldest child will have the best grades and be the more responsible sibling according to a 2015 Australian study that compared the two. This pattern often leads the eldest child to greater success than their siblings, but at times it does come with a cost. Because of their competitive drive, older siblings tend to have higher blood pressure as an adult and are more prone to obesity, causing for possible medical problems later on in life.

While the controversy of who is better remains a debate for all siblings, it has been proven that the eldest in the end wins. Being born first comes with its privileges, like getting all the attention from your parents before the younger sibling comes along. That attitude is what allows for the eldest child to get the best treatment, creating a space for higher achievement. So while the debate of younger versus older will continue to be a sibling rivalry, the older sibling will always win.