Published Online: March 2, 2010
Published in Print: March 3, 2010, as Family Income

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Family Income

"Early-Childhood Poverty and Adult Attainment, Behavior, and Health"

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Living in poverty before age 5 can have a critical impact on children’s earnings trajectories 30 years later, according to a study in the January/February issue of Child Development.

Greg J. Duncan, an education professor at the University of California, Irvine, and his colleagues analyzed data on a nationally representative sample of people born between 1968 and 1975.

More so than other periods of childhood, the researchers found, poverty in early-childhood was strongly linked to having lower earnings and fewer work hours 30 years later. The researchers estimate that a $3,000 annual increase in family income between a child's prenatal year and 5th birthday is associated with a 19 percent increase in earnings and an additional 135 work hours a year for that child down the road.

Vol. 29, Issue 23, Page 5

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