Those who are the first born in their family and are also female are the most likely to succeed in life.
This is according to ground-breaking research by Feifei Bu at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, which found first-born girls are statistically more qualified and ambitious than their younger brothers or sisters.
First-born boys are next in line for success, but first-born girls remain 13% more ambitious than them.
The study also found parents wanting children who are successful should leave a gap of at least four years between each child, as this wider gap gives a greater chance of allowing them to become high achievers.
“There are several possible explanations for the higher attainment and ambition of the eldest,” Bu told The Observer.
“It could be that the parents simply devote more time and energy to them – it could be they are actually more intelligent. For me, I tend to lean towards the theory that parental investment is possibly at work here.”
The research excluded families with twins or only children and focused on the impact of sibling structures on aspirations.
Even taking into account the parents’ education and careers, the research found first-borns are 7% more likely to aspire to stay on in education than younger siblings, and girls are 4% more likely to have further education qualifications.