Persistent Poverty and Children's Cognitive Development: Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study
We use data from the four sweeps of the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) of children born at the turn of the century to document the impact that poverty, and in particular persistent poverty, has on their cognitive development in their early years. Using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM), we show that children born into poverty have significantly lower test scores at age 3, age 5 and age 7, and that continually living in poverty in their early years has a cumulative negative impact on their cognitive development. For children who are persistently in poverty throughout their early years, their cognitive development test scores at age 7 are almost 20 percentile ranks lower than children who have never experienced poverty, even after controlling for a wide range of background characteristics and parental investment.
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