Family income can have an impact on a child’s cognitive, emotional and brain development, according to neuroscientist and pediatrician Kimberly Noble.
In a Ted Talk, Noble highlights the results of a study which found that the link between family income and children’s brain structure was the strongest at the lowest income levels. She said, “… relatively small differences in family income were associated with proportionately greater differences in brain structure among the most disadvantaged families.”
Talking about how family income impacts a child, she said, “Now, at birth, we find absolutely no differences in how their brains work. But by the time those two kids are ready to start kindergarten, we know that the child living in poverty is likely to have cognitive scores that are, on average, 60 per cent lower than those of the other child. Later on, that child living in poverty will be five times more likely to drop out of high school, and if she does graduate high school, she’ll be less likely to earn a college degree.”
Through her talk, Noble urged schools, teachers and parents to help support kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to do their best while making meaningful policy changes to reduce poverty. “Because while income may not be the only or even the most important factor in determining children’s brain development, it may be one that, from a policy perspective, can be easily addressed,” she said.
Watch the video here: