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From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development
TABLE 10-2 Poverty and Affluence Among Young (Under 6 Years of Age) Children in 16 Countries
NOTE: “Poor” is defined as family-size-adjusted income less than 50 percent of country median income. “Affluent” is defined as family-size-adjusted income greater than 200 percent of country median income. Equivalence scale is the square root of family size.
SOURCE: Calculations by Lee Rainwater based on data from the LuxembourgIncome Study.
persistently poor (Duncan et al., 1994). On average, family incomes increase as children age, but average patterns conceal a great deal of year-to-year volatility, making it important to consider how economic resources at different points during the childhood years affect development. The malleability of young children's development and the overwhelming importance of the family (rather than school or peer) context suggest that economic conditions in early childhood may be far more important for shaping children's ability, behavior, and achievement than conditions later in childhood.
Efforts to understand the developmental effects of poverty have relied on both experimental and nonexperimental studies. Experimental designs involving manipulation of family incomes are extremely rare. In four income maintenance experiments in the 1960s and 1970s, experimental treatment families received a guaranteed minimum income. Impacts on pre-school children, however, were not assessed. School performance and attendance were affected positively in some sites for school-age children, but not for high school adolescents. In two sites reporting high school completion and advanced education, these were higher for the experimental