So you're an only child? How birth order affects where you live
If you thought your status as a middle child has nothing to do with where you want to live, think again.
Several researchers told home design blog Apartment Therapy that your birth order could influence your housing preferences later in life.
“Birth order plays a certain role in our upbringing, and thereby also affects the way we tend to think of ourselves and the behaviors we choose,” Ana Jovanovic from ParentingPod, an online site for parents on mental health and well-being, told the publication.
According to Jovanovic, firstborns tend to be more responsible and may choose to stay close to home because it benefits the entire family.
One of the biggest meta-analyses of birth order studies found that eldest children tend to have higher levels of anxiety. Drawing on this, researchers interviewed by Apartment Therapy said that firstborns may choose to live in places where they can have more privacy and control the details of their home.
“They are flaw pickers,” Kevin Leman, the author of The Birth Order Book, told Apartment Therapy. “They’re going to notice paint chips on the walls or dirty rugs.”
By contrast, middle children may be less picky when it comes to where they live. They may choose to move to big cities to live with more roommates or move into a house that needs work because it is close to work or good schools.
“They roll with the punches because they never had mom or dad to themselves,” Leman says. “They endured hand-me-downs, so while the firstborn is attracted to neatness and landscaping, which has to be perfect, [these don’t] have to be [perfect] for the middle child.”
Middle children have also, according to Jovanovic, been drawn to warm and densely populated cities that provide more opportunities to socialize, according to Jovanovic.
Youngest children, on the other hand, may gravitate toward more communal environments — this could mean a large house, an apartment with a central living room or a place with several roommates.
“The baby of the family who feeds off other people would prefer condos that are stacked on each other, apartments, or a place with a community pool where they can meet others,” Leman said.
And growing up with no siblings as an only child may also play a role in shaping your housing preferences. Researchers say that, like eldest children, they may prefer solitary living arrangements.
“They are not saying ‘I’m an only child so I’m going to live here,’ but as they go through life, a single home that’s sort of isolated on a hill is going to sound real good to an only child because they like solitude and quiet for the most part,” Leman said.