Even before they walk or enter preschool, children from poor families trail behind their more advantaged peers on measures rating their behavior and cognitive abilities, according to a report from Child Trends.
The study by the Washington-based research group also finds similar gaps between minority children and white children, between children of mothers with a high school diploma or less and those whose mothers are more educated, and between children growing up in Spanish-speaking homes and those from English-speaking households. Moreover, the study shows, the disparities widen as children get older.
The findings are based on data from the federal Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which tracks a nationally representative set of infants born in 2001. The authors say the results speak to the need for programs that target disadvantaged children from birth.
A version of this article appeared in the August 12, 2009 edition of Education Week