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Family Socioeconomic Status, Children’s Home Environments, and Cognitive Achievement in the United States, 1997-2014

Mon, August 13, 8:30 to 10:10am, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Level 4, 406


ABSTRACT. Children’s home environments are a critical context for cognitive development. Historically, the quality of children’s home environments has varied by family socioeconomic status, with children in disadvantaged families having less access to resources that are predictive of cognitive achievement compared to children in higher-income families. In the last two decades, efforts to improve low-income families’ home environments have potentially weakened the association between poverty status and children’s cognitive achievement. At the same time, increasing inequality in the upper tail of the income distribution may have led to increased parental investments in children in higher-income families, with increased gains to their cognitive achievement as a result. We assess whether the strength of the association between socioeconomic status and home environments has changed, and whether the home environment is a stronger mediator of the SES-cognitive achievement relationship in more recent compared to earlier cohorts. Data are from the 1997 and 2014 cohorts of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement.


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