Income Changes and Cognitive Stimulation in Children's Home Environments during the Preschool and Early Elementary School Years

Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, Northwestern University

Although prior research has shown that family economic resources are strong predictors of the level of cognitive stimulation provided by children's home environments, methodological concerns suggest that omitted variables may bias these estimates. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N=2174) this study examined the influence of household income on cognitive stimulation in children's home environments during the transition to school. Cross-sectional regressions and longitudinal fixed effects models are estimated to examine the robustness of income's effect on children's home environments. Household income was positively related to the level of cognitive stimulation in children's home environments across both sets of analyses. The home environments of children in low-income households are particularly sensitive to income changes over time. The implications of this study for researchers and policy makers are discussed.

Presented in Session 147: Infant and Child Health in the U.S.: Effects of Income and Social Programs