Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian, and Abraham Lincoln. They all have something surprising in common.

Bill Gates photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images. Kim Kardashian photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images. Abraham Lincoln photo via Alexander Gardner/Getty Images.


No, it's not a bizarre time-shifting reality show (which I'd totally watch, by the way).

They're all middle children.

GIF from "The Brady Bunch."

Not so fast, Jan! If Oreo cookies and the "Star Wars" films have taught us anything, it's that the middle is where you can find some of the best stuff.

In honor of Middle Child Day, here are five surprising facts about growing up a middle child.

1. Middle children stand for truth, justice, and even more justice.

According to Katrin Schumann, co-author of "The Secret Power of Middle Children," middles are justice-seekers. She said in Psychology Today that middle children "are focused on fairness; they perceive injustice in their family and are attuned to the needs of others as they grow up."

Middles also tend to be fiercely loyal and stick up for the underdog. No surprise, then, that Susan B. Anthony, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela were all in-betweeners.


Like a 12-year-old at the mall, these middles loved justice. Susan B. Anthony photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. photo by Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images. Nelson Mandela photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

2. Middleborns tend to be more sex-positive.

Yes, your birth order can shed some light on your attitude toward sex. While firstborns tend to have the most sexual partners, middles are less judgmental of other people's sex lives. According to a recent study, they're more likely to try new things in the bedroom.

Yes, Mr. Sex Positivity himself, Dan Savage, is the third of four children. Coincidence? Maybe not. Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Webby Awards.

3. Need to strike a deal? Call a middle child.

Middle children grow up having to navigate complex family and sibling dynamics, which makes them top-notch negotiators. Dr. Frank Sulloway, author of "Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives," told Parents magazine: "Middle-borns are the most willing to wheel and deal. They are agreeable, diplomatic, and compromising."

It's no wonder 52% of U.S. presidents since 1787 were middle children.


John F. Kennedy, master negotiator and middle child. Photo via National Archive/Newsmakers.

4. Yes, middle children get less attention from their parents, but it comes with a hidden benefit.

Parents tend to place a lot of expectations on the firstborn, especially when it comes to academic and professional achievement. When parental attention gets divided among multiple children, middles tend to lose out. But that's not always a bad thing.

Catherine Salmon, Schumann's co-author, told NPR "In a certain way, they're free to find out what they really are good at on their own time and in their own way, and then excel at that."

In addition to being the second of three sisters, Jennifer Lopez is a singer, actress, dancer, TV star, and producer. Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Kohl's.

5. And now, middle children are the subject of cutting-edge research.

But that's because experts are finally taking notice. In a 2010 review of over 200 birth-order studies, researchers found that "second-born children are largely ignored in the research literature." Ouch. Adding insult to injury, the research gap may have a lot to do with the fact that many of the researchers themselves are first-born.

Fair enough, Jan. You can be mad about this one. GIF still from "The Brady Bunch."

But any group that includes Chris Hemsworth, Warren Buffett, Barbara Walters, and Britney Spears has a lot to be happy about.

Rise up, middle children! Today is your day, you justice-seeking, sexually adventurous free spirits. Continue to make the world a wild and wonderful place.

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