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1.6: Developmental Influences- Socio-Economic Status

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    Learning Objective

    The Youngest Americans: A Statistical Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States by Child Trends. Publication #2013-48, many infants and toddlers are beginning life with limited financial resources. The report presents a profile of children from birth through age eight years and includes information about their health status, access to educational and social service programs, and their families. Some of the statistics in the report include:
    • 48% of America’s infants and toddlers live in low-income families; 25% live in families below the official poverty line; 13% are in deep poverty
    • Economic disadvantage is concentrated in the families of black and Latino infants and toddlers; 66% of these young children are in low-income families.
    • 24% of black and Latino infants and toddlers live in households that are “food-insecure” (p.1)
    • 24% are raised by a single parent
    • 16% are in the care of grandparents


    • Experience decreased general health with an increase in death rate from an infectious disease
    • Are vaccinated at lower rates
    • Have increased rates of asthma and anemia.
    • Live with increased rates of parental depression which could lead to risk for abuse and neglect
    • Have an increased exposure to alcohol and substance abuse.
    • Need safe play spaces
    • Have a greater exposure to lead
    • Live in communities with an increased exposure to community and interpersonal violence.



    • More than 1/3 of children from low- income communities enter kindergarten classes already behind their peers and by fourth grade, more than 50% of these children will not meet the standard for reading proficiency. (Connecticut Commission on Children, 2004)
    • Children living below the poverty threshold are 1.3 times more likely than non-poor children to experience learning disabilities and developmental delays. (Brooks-Dunn & Duncan, 1997)
    • Low-income children are nearly 50% more likely to become obese adults than children with more financial resources. (Duncan, Ziol-Guest, & Kahl, 2010)
    • Early experience affects brain development and lays the foundation for children’s development. (Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child)


    Coping with Early Adversity and Mitigating its Effects—Core Story: Resilience produced by the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare. The video is described as:

    Children are incredibly resilient – the same rapid brain development that occurs in the first few years of life that make young children particularly vulnerable to maltreatment also make those same children particularly receptive to intervention. The concept of resiliency is especially important to keep in mind when working with young children in foster care. This video features experts discussing the process that results in resiliency in young children and the factors that can be put in place to bolster resiliency.
    Institute of Child Development:
    Center for Early Education and Development:​​​​​​​


    Jiang, Y., Granja, M.R., & Koball, H. (2017). Basic Facts about Low-Income Children: Children under 3 Years, 2015. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

    Murphey, D., Cooper, M. and Forry, N. (2013). The Youngest Americans: A Statistical Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States. Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Publication #2013-48.

    Zero to Three. (2012) National baby facts . Washington, DC: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.

    This page titled 1.6: Developmental Influences- Socio-Economic Status is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Susan Eliason via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.