Scientists are using new strategies to examine the neurobiological effects of poverty on the developing brain. Through epigenetic profiling, hormonal studies, and neurological brain imaging, researchers can identify the effects of growing up in poverty on brain growth. The scientists find that poverty in early childhood (the first five years) has effects that last into adulthood. Compared to children from middle-income families, children who grew up in poverty finished two fewer years of school, and they worked 451 fewer hours. As a group, poor children grew up to earn about half as much and needed about $800 more in social support. Poverty in childhood also led to a greater chance of being an overweight adult, and doubled the risk of health or psychological problems.
In 2008, 14 million American children lived in poverty. In Memphis, 23% of young children (age five or younger) live in dire poverty – about $10,000 a year for a mother and child. These children are likely to live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty and crime. Understanding the negative influence of poverty on early brain development underscores the importance of family income as one factor that promotes optimal brain development.
Due to the current recession, an additional. (n.d.). The Urban Child Institute, Retrieved from http://www.theurbanchildinstitute.org/Download.php?fileId=49da4b38dee2a3.04560655
Duncan, G, Magnuson, K, Boyce, T, & LaShonkoffst, J. (2010). The Long reach of early childhood poverty: pathways and impacts. Center on the Developing Child, Retrieved from http://developingchild.harvard.edu/
LaSantinist, J.L. (2010, February 21). Poverty in childhood can shape neurobiology: study. Yahoo News, Retrieved from http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100222/sc_afp/sciencesocialpovertyuschildren