Modeling family economic conditions and young children’s development in rural United States: Implications for poverty research
In this study we examined the additive and multiplicative relations between poverty status, material hardship, liquid assets, non-liquid assets, and children’s cognitive skills and social problems at 36 months. The data were from a representative sample of 1,292 children in six rural counties in the United States. Findings indicated that income, material hardship, and non-liquid assets explained unique variation in young children’s development. Material hardship was associated with more social problems for children. Poverty status was associated with lower cognitive skills, and non-liquid assets were associated with higher cognitive skills at 36 months. We concluded that models that estimate the relation between poverty and child outcomes without including measures of hardship and assets could be underspecified.