For Americans with siblings, rivalries often are present in childhood but many fade in adulthood

Linley SandersData Journalist
February 10, 2023, 6:13 PM GMT+0

During the Super Bowl on Sunday, Travis and Jason Kelce are expected to become the first brothers to play against each other in the NFL championship game's history. The two siblings are seemingly thrilled by their joint successes — but that hasn't stopped people from referring to the game as the "Kelce Bowl" and playfully emphasizing the sibling rivalry.

A new YouGov poll conducted February 3 - 5, 2023 finds that nearly half of Americans with at least one sibling (46%) say they had rivalries when growing up. This type of competition is similarly likely among men (47%) and women (46%) with siblings, though middle children (50%) are slightly more likely than the oldest (44%) or youngest (46%) to claim such a dynamic existed for them.

Americans are split on whether sibling rivalries in childhood do more to help (21%) or hurt (25%) sibling relationships in the long run, while 33% say they do neither. It's generally thought of as unfair for parents to compare siblings' athletic abilities (68%) or academic performance (68%).

Depending on where Americans fall in their family's age lineup, there are differences in how they view themselves compared to their siblings. Oldest siblings (36%) are more likely to say they are much more or slightly more confident than their siblings. About three in 10 middle children (31%) and just 22% of youngest siblings say the same. Oldest children also are more likely to see themselves as more responsible than their siblings (42%) than middle children (37%) or youngest siblings (32%) are.

Youngest children are more likely to describe themselves as funnier than their siblings (46%) than the middle children (39%) and oldest (36%) are.

(The poll asked about siblings people have, in the present tense, so some respondents may not have included siblings who have died.)

See the results from this YouGov poll conducted on February 3 - 5, 2023

Related: Super Bowl 2023 - Do Americans want the Kansas City Chiefs or the Philadelphia Eagles to win?

— Carl Bialik and Taylor Orth contributed to this article

Methodology: This poll was conducted online on February 3 - 5, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 28% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty Images

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