Income inequality and the developing child: Is it all relative?


Journal Article

Children from low-income families are at heightened risk for a number of poor outcomes, including depression, antisocial behavior, poor physical health, and educational failure. Growing up in poverty is generally seen as toxic for children. However, less is known about how the "economic distance" between children and their peers influences behavior and health. This article examines how both poverty and the growing divide between low-income children and their peers may be influencing low-income children's life chances. Among wealthy nations, children in countries with higher levels of income inequality consistently fare worse on multiple indices of health, educational attainment, and well-being. New research also suggests that low-income children may be experiencing worse outcomes, and a form of "double disadvantage," when they live and attend school alongside more affluent versus similarly positioned peers. The role of subjective social status in explaining why some low-income children appear to suffer when growing up alongside more affluent peers is explored, alongside a call for additional research focused on how children come to understand, and respond to, their perceived social status. (PsycINFO Database Record

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Odgers, CL

Published Date

  • November 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 70 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 722 - 731

PubMed ID

  • 26618957

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26618957

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1935-990X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-066X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0039836


  • eng