Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early math and reading ability linked to job and income in adulthood

Date:
May 8, 2013
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Math and reading ability at age 7 may be linked with socioeconomic status several decades later, according to new research. The childhood abilities predict socioeconomic status in adulthood over and above associations with intelligence, education, and socioeconomic status in childhood.

Math and reading ability at age 7 may be linked with socioeconomic status several decades later.
Credit: Christian Schwier / Fotolia

Math and reading ability at age 7 may be linked with socioeconomic status several decades later, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The childhood abilities predict socioeconomic status in adulthood over and above associations with intelligence, education, and socioeconomic status in childhood.

In light of ongoing debates about the impact that education standards have on children's lives, psychological scientists Stuart Ritchie and Timothy Bates of the University of Edinburgh wanted to investigate whether early math and reading skills might have effects that go beyond the classroom.

"We wanted to test whether being better at math or reading in childhood would be linked with a rise through the social ranks: a better job, better housing, and higher income as an adult," Ritchie and Bates explain.

The researchers explored these relationships using data from the National Child Development Study, a large, nationally representative study that followed over 17,000 people in England, Scotland, and Wales over a span of about 50 years, from when they were born in 1958 to present day.

The data revealed that childhood reading and math skills really do matter.

Ritchie and Bates found that participants' reading and math ability at age 7 were linked to their social class a full 35 years later. Participants who had higher reading and math skills as children ended up having higher incomes, better housing, and better jobs in adulthood. The data suggest, for example, that going up one reading level at age 7 was associated with a 5,000, or roughly $7,750, increase in income at age 42.

The long-term associations held even after the researchers took other common factors into account.

"These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school, or the social class you started off in, will be important throughout your life," say Ritchie and Bates.

So what might explain these long-term associations? The researchers believe that genes may play a role:

"Genes underlie many of the differences among children on all the variables we've looked at here," they note. "The genetically-controlled study using twins that we're conducting now should allow us to separate out genetic and environmental effects."

The researchers hope that the twin study will illuminate the extent to which environmental interventions might strengthen the links they've identified in their current research.

This research was supported by an Economic and Social Research Council scholarship awarded to Stuart Ritchie.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. J. Ritchie, T. C. Bates. Enduring Links From Childhood Mathematics and Reading Achievement to Adult Socioeconomic Status. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612466268

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Early math and reading ability linked to job and income in adulthood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508123125.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2013, May 8). Early math and reading ability linked to job and income in adulthood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508123125.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Early math and reading ability linked to job and income in adulthood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508123125.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins