The Association between Family Income and Educational Attainment in Middle Childhood

Sally C. Curtin, University of Maryland
Sandra Hofferth, University of Maryland

Research has documented that children from low-income families are less likely to graduate from high school and they ultimately obtain fewer years of education than children from higher income families. How low income impacts the academic achievement of children in middle childhood, where the foundation for future success is laid, has been less researched. Using data from the 1997 Child Development Supplement (CDS) to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), this study explores the relationship between families' economic well-being over the child's life and two early measures of school performance--grade retention and special education placement. Low income during the child's middle years and persistent low income are associated with a higher rate of being held back in school. Low income during the child's middle years is associated with being placed in special education. How these are explained by the child's academic achievement, behavior, and health problems is examined.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Applied Demography, Methods, Migration, Labor and Education, Gender, and Race and Ethnicity