The Middle Child Is Officially Going Extinct

three kids middle child

The middle child has always gotten a bad rap. They're the problem child, the one starved for attention, the one who bucks authority and beats their own drum. Or, they're the poor, put-upon forgotten child, who isn't the golden oldest or baby youngest. We all remember poor Jan Brady, right? MARCIA, MARCIA, MARCIA! If you grew up as a middle child, you might exhibit one or more of these qualities (or did as a kid, hopefully we've all outgrown our childhood reputations by now!). But that's not to say being the middle child didn't have its perks! You usually got to do things sooner than your older siblings did, and had younger siblings to lord over.

But, it looks like the days of the middle child might be coming to an end. Parents are stopping at one or two kids, and the middle child is officially going extinct.

The ideal American family size has been in steady decline, and now most parents think two kids is just fine. According to Pew Research, back in the 70's, four kids or more was the norm, with 40% of moms between the ages of 40 - 44 had four or more kids. Meanwhile, 25% had three kids, 24% had two, and just 11% of moms in that age group had one child. Now, those numbers are reversed. Nearly two-thirds of moms have one or two kids. So, an oldest, and a youngest. Which means the middle child is officially out.

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Credit: iStock / cassinga

There are plenty of good reasons people are choosing to have fewer children. For starters, it's incredibly expensive! Access to affordable childcare in this country is abysmal, and parents are deciding that they can't afford to pay for more than one or two kids in daycare and preschool. Plenty of men and women are also putting off having kids for various reasons, like establishing their careers or getting their finances in order. When they start having kids later in life, they have fewer kids.

It definitely makes sense, but it's weird to realize that it could mean the end of the middle child. Middle Child Day is August 12, so if you're a middle child or have a middle child, make sure to go all out on celebrating this year! You never know, it could be one of the last middle child holidays we have.

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