economic hardship has been linked to a myriad of adverse educational, health, and other outcomes for children that limit future productivity. these children are less likely to be healthy, which impacts learning. for them, the achievement gap starts very early—one study found that at age 4 poor children are 18 months behind developmentally and the gap is still there at age 10. two-thirds of youth with mental health problems drop out of high school. they become part of the disengaged youth population.
more than a decade of research shows that increasing the incomes of low-income families—without any other changes—can positively affect child development, especially for younger children.put differently, money matters for child development. families with more money invest more in material resources that promote learning for their children. parents with more money are also likely to be less stressed and depressed, both of which have been linked to poor social and emotional outcomes for children.
according to economists, high-quality early experiences can have major long-term economic pay offs. in one program it was estimated that participants earned on the average $20,000 more and saved the state $19,000 in remediation and criminal justice costs. another analysis by dr. james heckman, a nobel prize winner, suggested that the odds of completing high school rose from 39 percent to 53 percent for children exposed to preschool.