OK, it's not all bad news for the younger kids. Our big brothers and sisters may be smarter and taller than us, but studies show they're not as healthy.
It has been found that the risks of hay fever and eczema decrease when you've had three or more older siblings. Having multiple filthy children share a household tends to convert the place into a giant Petri dish, but because infections lend strength to a developing immune system, the various exotic diseases that kids bring into the home wind up benefiting everyone involved.
The picture of health.
The kick in the pants is that, even after granting you an ironclad immune system, your sickly older siblings will still outlive you.
Scientists at the University of Chicago have concluded that if you want to live to a hundred, you damn well better be a firstborn. Apparently, the secret of the firstborn's success lies in the mother's birthing age. If the mother is below 25 when she propels her first spawn out into the world, that child is much more likely to eventually become a centenarian.
The study showed that, for women, the firstborn child is three times more likely to make it to 100 than the seventh sister and beyond. Firstborn males are twice as likely to reach 100 as male siblings born fourth through sixth.
They'll be enjoying the sweet fruits of incontinence and senility while you're rotting in the ground.
A possible explanation to this phenomenon is that younger mothers tend to have healthier eggs, and are generally healthier than their older counterparts, having had exposure to fewer diseases and infections over the course of their lifetimes. After the eldest kids arrive and start acting as dragnets for every biological hazard within the same time zone, the mother is exposed to more disease, and since her best eggs have already been spent, her future children wind up being short-lived little mutant goblins.
On the plus side, you get a better shot at a circus career.
Holy crap, is there any advantage to being the younger brother in a family?
To any runts of the litter who got this far through the article without falling into a deep, alcoholic depression, here's your reward: All of your suffering has been worth it, because for all of your glaring flaws, the opposite sex cannot get enough of you.
Or, keeping #5 in mind, the same sex.
A study in which subjects were placed into a speed-dating-like environment has shown that having older siblings of the opposite sex is incredibly socially beneficial. Men with older sisters were significantly more conversationally adept, and women with older brothers were likely to strike up a conversation with a man, and smiled more at the man than he did at her.
Apparently, your older siblings increase your empathy skills to counter their sociopathic bent. In addition, any type of sibling in general makes your social skills throughout life skyrocket. You'll get along better with other children in kindergarten, have closer friendships and generally have more fun than your overworked elders who struggle under the burden of perfection.
Younger siblings are funnier too. A study showed that over half of younger siblings said that it's easy to be humorous, compared with only one third of oldest siblings. Only-children were worst off, with only 11 percent claiming to be funny. We take this one with a grain of salt, because often the people who claim to be funny are really the most groan-inducing douchebags in the room.
Both of these men are "hilarious."
It's theorized, though, that younger siblings have to compete more for attention, so their people-skills muscles get so much more of a workout. And why not? When you struggle through life as a possibly closeted, academically average midget who doesn't have long to live, it really helps to have a sense of humor.
For more ways our families screwed us up, check out 7 Things 'Good Parents' Do (That Screw Up Kids For Life) and 9 Toys That Prepare Children for a Life of Menial Labor.
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