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New Study: Differences in Family Income Affect How Parents Raise Their Children

New Study: Differences in Family Income Affect How Parents Raise Their Children


According to a recent report in The New York Times covering a new Pew Research Center survey, family income levels make an impact on how parents raise their children, which can affect their entire lives through adulthood. A variety of parental behaviors were observed and the differences in how parents brought up their children were greatly determined by how much money they make.

For example, families with a household income of $75,000 or more were more likely to enroll their kids in after-school programs such as art, dance, and sports from an early age, whereas lower-income families, earning $30,000 or less had their children spend time at home or at the home of a family member. Of the families with an income of over $75,000, 84% said their kids participate in an organized sport, while just 59% of kids from families making $30,000 or less do.

Middle-and higher-income families see their children as a “project” which needs to be developed in order to succeed – think “helicopter” parenting, and the working- and lower-income parents feel their kids will do just fine on their own. The kids of higher-income families are more likely to end up in college, thus helping them attain a better paying job in the future.



The Pew survey also took into account how parents feel about their neighborhood and the safety of their children in it. The higher-earners felt their neighborhood was a good one for raising children, while half of the lower-earners felt worried their child could potentially get shot in their neighborhood! The greater concern for the higher-income families was that their child may become anxious or depressed.

This study shows that the reason for the discrepancy is the increase in segregation of communities by income status. Decades ago, communities were more varied. Changes are on the way though, thanks to public library proximity and public preschool programs being made available to lower-income communities.

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Melissa A. Kay

Author: Melissa A. Kay is a writer, editor, and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in the publishing field in the areas of family, beauty, health, employment, lifestyle, entertainment, and more. She lives in Manhattan with her loving husband and inspiring cat, and enjoys reading, fitness, cooking, music, and the amazing experiences New York has to offer. See More

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