Study Shows Poverty Can Suppress a Child’s Potential to Excel

According to a new paper from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, growing up in poverty can stunt a child’s potential to excel cognitively before he or she even reaches age 2.

In the study, published in the journal Psychological Science,  750 sets of twins from both wealthy and poor families were given tests of mental ability. According to the University’s press release, at 10 months, the children all performed similarly. But by 2 years, children from high socioeconomic background scored significantly higher than those from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Half of the gains that wealthier children show on tests of mental ability between 10 months and 2 years of age can be attributed to their genes, the study finds. But children from poorer families, who already lag behind their peers by that age, show almost no improvements that are driven by their genetic makeup.

For more information:

  • Read the study here
  • Follow the University of Texas at Austin on Twitter @UTAustin
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