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Poverty and Children’s Cognitive Trajectories: Evidence from the United Kingdom Millennium Cohort Study

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Listed:
  • Zlata Bruckauf
  • Yekaterina Chzhen
  • UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre

Abstract

Existing evidence is inconclusive on whether a socio-economic gradient in children’s cognitive ability widens, narrows or remains stable over time and there is little research on the extent of ‘cognitive mobility’ of children who had a poor start in life compared to their peers. Using data from five sweeps of the United Kingdom (UK) Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) at the ages of 9 months, 3 years, 5 years, 7 years and 11 years, this paper explores the cognitive ability trajectory of children in the bottom decile of the distribution at a given age, and the factors that drive or hinder their progress relative to their peers. The paper analyses children’s risks of moving in and out of the bottom decile of the cognitive ability distribution. The findings indicate a relatively high level of cognitive mobility between ages 3 and 11, especially in the pre-school period (between ages 3 and 5), with children from income-poor households more likely to get ‘trapped’ in the bottom of the age-specific cognitive ability distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Zlata Bruckauf & Yekaterina Chzhen & UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, 2016. "Poverty and Children’s Cognitive Trajectories: Evidence from the United Kingdom Millennium Cohort Study," Papers inwopa839, Innocenti Working Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucf:inwopa:inwopa839
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gwyther Rees & Jonathan Bradshaw, 2018. "Exploring Low Subjective Well-Being Among Children Aged 11 in the UK: an Analysis Using Data Reported by Parents and by Children," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 11(1), pages 27-56, February.

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    Keywords

    cognitive development; household surveys; poverty; social surveys;
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