The analysis uses a unique set of data matching mothers and their young adult children to study the impact of family background on young people’s educational attainments. The data is derived from the first five years (1991–5) of the British Household Panel Study. Mother’s education is found to be a very powerful predictor of their children’s educational attainments, particularly for young women. Having spent some time in a single-parent family tends to reduce the educational attainments of young men moderately, but the effects on young women’s education are small. Part, if not all, of this negative effect of living in a single-parent family reflects fewer economic resources in such families.
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