Over at The Cut, Adam Sternbergh bemoans the slow-motion extinction of the middle child. As fewer families have more than two children, the number of middle-born children declines. Dramatically.
I’m interested in a related phenomenon — the fact that first-borns are a much greater percentage of the population now than in previous decades. Using the chart above from the Pew Research Center, I estimate that first-borns have gone from about one-third of the population born from 1950-1975 to over 50% of the population born from 1990-2014.
Effects of birth-order on personality seem to be largely overblown. But what if there is some small tendency of first-borns to be more conforming, more socially dominant, less open to new ideas. Could those small effects — multiplied across our whole society — be contributing to the change in how we talk to each other about politics?
It’s pure speculation, of course. But it makes this first-born wonder.