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Social & Economic Status

Socioeconomic status is often measured as a combination of education, income, and occupation.¹ In more general terms, it is known as the social standing or class of an individual or group. When viewed though an educational lens, privilege, power, and control are emphasized.¹ Socioeconomic status also represents access to and the distribution of educational resources.

Inequalities in wealth distribution, resource distribution, and quality of life are increasing in the United States and around the world. Research indicates that children from low socioeconomic status households and communities develop academic skills more slowly compared to students from higher SES groups.¹ Initial academic skills are correlated with the home environment. Low literacy environments and chronic stress negatively affect a child’s preacademic skills.¹

School systems and boards in low socioeconomic status areas are often underfunded.¹ Inadequate education and increased dropout rates affect children’s academic achievement, further perpetuating the status of a low SES community.¹

Families from low socioeconomic status communities are less likely to have financial resources to provide their children with advanced academic support that may be required. “In a nationwide study of American kindergarten children, 36 percent of parents in the lowest-income quintile read to their children on a daily basis, compared with 62 percent of parents from the highest-income quintile."¹

Schools in low SES areas suffer from high levels of unemployment, migration of the best-qualified teachers, and low educational achievement.¹ Of high school math teachers in low-income school districts 27 percent majored in math in college compared to 43 percent of math teachers in affluent school districts.¹

In 2007 the high school dropout rate among persons aged 16 through 24 was highest in low-income families, 16.7 per cent, as compared to high-income families, 3.2 per cent.¹




1. American Psychological Association. Education & Socioeconomic Status. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from 

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