– According to a new study conducted by economists Chinhui Juhn, Yona Rubinstein, and C. Andrew Zuppann, the size of a family can affect the behavior and achievement of children. Using data from two surveys conducted between 1986 and 2012, the researchers wanted to know if and how the number of children in a family would affect the quality of their upbringing. The three economists analysed, in particular, the performance of older siblings before and after a younger child was born.

– The study revealed that for every additional sibling the other kids tended to have poorer cognitive abilities and more behavioral problems afterwards. Boys were more likely to misbehave, while girls suffered a decline in their math and reading skills. Parental engagement – factors like how often families have meals together, one-on-one time with each child, level of affection, safety of the home – was also found to have a crucial importance on siblings’ achievement. Since parents’ availability is not infinite, a larger family means less time devoted to each child, with consequences on both the kids’ behavior and performance in school.



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