The Effects of Socioeconomic Status and Development


TheEffects of Socioeconomic Status and Development

Socioeconomicstatus refers to a sociological and economic combined overall measureof an individual’s work experience, social position, economicbackground based on the economic, income, and work. The socioeconomicstatus is broken down into three main categories: High, middle, andlow socioeconomic status, which assist in describing the three areasan individual is categorized in. When an individual is place into oneof the three categories, any among the three variables occupation,income, and education, are examined. In addition, higher educationand low income are seen as strong predictors of problems involvingmental and physical health, which include coronary disease,schizophrenia, respiratory viruses, and arthritis (Noble et al.,2005). These problems may be as a result of environmental conditionsin the individual’s workplace, especially in cases of mentalillnesses, which is the reason for a person’s entire social problemin the first place. The paper therefore, will look at some of theeffects associated with socioeconomic status and development.

TheEffects of Socioeconomic Status and Development

  1. Factors of socioeconomic status

There are three main factors of socioeconomic status: Occupation,income, and education. To begin with, occupational status representsa reflection of educational attainment needed to acquire certainlevels of income. In addition, occupation shows attainment ofrequired skills demanded. Occupational status is often used tomeasure social position through characteristics of job description,ability to make decisions, and the psychological demands of theoccupation (Noble et al., 2005). Secondly, income refers to salaries,profits, wages, and any other flow of money received. Again, incomecomes in the form workers compensation, unemployment, pensions,royalties, alimony, or trust. Low income families in this case, areoften focused on meeting the immediate needs and there is alsofailure in accumulating wealth. High income and families are in abetter position to accumulate wealth, while they are focused onmeeting their immediate needs, and are able to enjoy luxuries.

Finally, education plays a major role in income. More earningsincrease with increase in the level of education. Psychological andeconomic outcomes are related with higher levels of education. Inconcerted cultivation, middle class parents handle the education anddevelopment of their children through controlled fostering a feelingof entitlement (Evans, 2014). Families with low income do not takepart in the education and development of their children, which resultin the children having a feeling of constraint. Again, it is observedthat families from a lower SES tend to issue orders to the childrenduring interactions, while families with a higher SES tend tointeract and play with the children. Children from lower SES familiesalso have weaknesses in language skills than their counterparts fromhigher SES families.

  1. Socioeconomic Status and Development: Research

Sample: Thirty middle SES and thirty low SES childrenunderwent recruitment from the Philadelphia public kindergartenclasses. The exclusionary criteria was carried out, which includedlow birth weight (below 1500 grams), drug use or maternal alcohol wasreported during the pregnancy, ADHD, developmental delay, learningdisability, or other psychiatric or neurological problems (Jensen,2009). Twenty four middle and twenty-six low SES parents gave consentto get responses from their pediatrician office. Of those contacted,90% of the middle SES sample and 49% of low SES sample, confirmed thevalidity of information given by the parents (Jensen, 2009). Thosechildren, whose parents had not given out consent to content thepediatrician, were not included in the study. Key predictions,however, were tested with data from the children subset with verifiedmedical histories, were also carried out.

Process: Batteries of tasks were designed using parsecognition into five extensive neurocognitive systems: visuospatialprocessing, visual cognition, language, memory, and executivefunction. These systems cover a number of cognitive abilities, whichare supported by information and anatomical-processingconsiderations. Given a chance to choose, there was an imperativefeeling to use the tasks with clear neural basis that are based onneuroimaging and lesion data. Each of the two neurocognitive systemwas examined through two tasks, which were superficially varied. Eventhough a child’s brain works while undertaking a given task, thesetwo tasks were selectively of specific neurocognitive systems(Balter, 2015). This is because they taxed one of the systems, whileplacing light demands on the other. The tasks of the system were usedto measure the level of functioning of every single one of the fiveneurocognitive systems.

Tasks given and results: The children were given a number oftasks to complete, which included shape detection task, mentalrotation task, color imagery task, incidental picture learning task,incidental face learning task, dimensional change card sort task, andgo/no-go task. Completion of these tasks gave the following results:Following the 12 measures continually undertaken, five overallindividual scores fell on more than the three standard deviant sideson both sides of the other children mean within the same SES group,which was then eliminated from the set of data (Pungello et al.,2009). Scores were then converted relatively to the entiredistribution of sixty children, which ensured all tasks performancewere placed on the common scale. A composite score for everyneurocognitive system was constructed through an average of scores.

A quick overview show subsequent analysis to group comparison acrossthe SES on the composites of neurocognitive system, across the SEShaving group comparisons on the task performance of individuals, andmultiple regression of analysis of SES’s interrelation andneurocognitive systems, and finally the multiple regressions thatinclude early childhood measures of experiences (Jensen, 2009). Withnumerous tasks and unequal number of work used to acquire variedneurocognitive systems, it was important to know thatdisproportionate differences in the executive systems and languageobserved across the SES are a manifestation of individual taskslevel.

Effectsof Socioeconomic Status on Language and Speech Development

The environmentsurrounding the low SES children is influence by less talk ordialogue from the parents, minimal number of reading materials, andminimal attention to the children, the child and adult focus on thesame event of object, as compared to high SES children and theirenvironment. In comparison, children from high SES families encouragedirect speech with and among their children (Jensen, 2009). At onlynine months old, high SES children are recorded to hear estimated 400more words compared with children of low SES.

Additionally, parenting style is characterized by the amount of inputon language from the parents, which is a choice from the parent onwhat to practice. High SES parents for example, tend to be morepermissive or authoritative in their parenting styles. The sameparents are known to ask a lot of open-ended questions towards theirchildren, while encouraging them on improving their speech (Hoff,2003). In comparison, low SES parents are known to executeauthoritarian style of speech when addressing their children. Theirconversations are characterized with imperatives and simply yes or noquestions, which limits children’s development of responses andspeech.

Research: Thestudy was carried out through tests on children whose families differin terms of socioeconomic status (SES), in rates of development inproductive vocabulary, while experimenting with learning experiences.The study focused on 33 educated and with high SES and 30 uneducatedwith low SES. Two year-old children were included in the study, whichwas then recorded 10 weeks apart (Hoff, 2003). Their interactionswere then recorded based on the estimated growth in the children’sspeech construction and vocabulary following the maternal speech. Theresults indicated that children from high-SES families develop morethan children from the mid-SES families, based on their vocabulariesand speech construction.

  1. Five Domains of Neuro-cognitive Function

The domains of neuro-cognitive functions include perceptual-motor,language, learning and memory, social cognition, and complexattention. All these are involved with visual perception andvisual-constructional reasoning, perception-motor coordination. Inregard to language, there is object naming, fluency, word finding,and receptive language. The neuro-domains also include executiveplanning, decision making, flexibility and inhibition, dividedattention, and processed speed (Evans, 2014). Social cognition willinvolve emotional recognition, and theoretical insight. All these areinfluential in SES and development.

Effectsof Poverty on Brain Growth (Less educated and low income environment)

Research: Tounderstand some of the effects, a teach of research scientistsscanned a total of 1099 brains belonging to the children and theyouth between 3 and 20 years, using the MRI. Led by Kimberly Noble,the researchers at the Columbia University and a Children’sHospital in Elizabeth Sowell, Los Angeles, California, allowed theMRI scans to examine the subject’s surface area of the cerebralcortices (Balter, 2015). The researchers opted to carry out theirmeasurements on the cortical surface area since previous research hadrevealed that there was an increase from childhood towards adulthood.

Results: Theresearch revealed that children from high SES families do better inregard to cognitive measures, which include reading, languagebatteries, IQ scores, and execution function, which is the ability topay attention to tasks at hand. Children form low SES families, whichare also subject to poverty, were discovered to be affected more onimportant areas of their brains than their counterparts, who tend tobe involved more on memory and language development (Balter, 2015).Low-SES children have small volume in terms of brain.

  1. Psychosocial and Physical Environment of Childhood in Poverty

Children subjected to poverty are often confronted with widespreadinequalities of their environment. Compared with their counterpartsfrom families with high-SES, they face numerous family issues,violence, and separation from their parents, chaotic and unstablehouseholds. These children experience minimal social support, whiletheir parents are more authoritarian and less responsive. They areoften ready to infrequently watch more television and are lessexposed to computers and books. They also consume polluted air andwater and of low quality (Noble et al., 2005). These children arealso exposed to dangerous neighborhoods, poor services from themunicipal and inferior low-income schools and day care. Multipleaccumulation of these environmental risks instead of singularexposure to risks, are pathogenic to the aspect of the childhoodpoverty.

Environmentaloutcomes and developmental risks exposed to these children determinetheir stability in both their behavior and their life-long socialattributes. The children who grow up in favorable environment grow upwith healthy relationship and appropriate response to emotions totheir day to day situations. Children raised in low SES households,fail to practice these responses, which negatively affect theirperformance in school (Pungello et al., 2009). For instance, childrenwith dysregulation in their emotions may easily be frustrated andgive up on tasks when they are about to achieve success. It alsoprevents them from working well with social groups, which could alsoresult in exclusion from the social group.


Socioeconomicbackground has since been associated with major outcomes acrossvaried broad-band measures of neuro-cognitive system. The paper hasexamined children from both high and low SES, which aimed atelucidating specific neuro-cognitive systems whereby the performanceis based on the differences of SES.


Balter, M. (April 09, 2015). Poverty may affect the growth ofchildren’s brains. Science. Retrieved from

Evans, G. W. (2014). The Environment of Childhood Poverty.Cornell University, U.S. 7, 1, 43-48. Retrieved from,%202004.pdf

Hoff, E. (January 01, 2003). The specificity of environmentalinfluence: socioeconomic status affects early vocabulary developmentvia maternal speech: Child Development, 74, 5. Retrieved from

Jensen, E. (2009). Teaching with poverty in mind: What being poordoes to kids` brains and what schools can do about it? Alexandria,Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrievedfrom

Noble, K. G., Norman, M. F., &amp Farah, M. J. (January 01, 2005).Neurocognitive correlates of socioeconomic status in kindergartenchildren. Developmental Science, 8, 1, 74-87. Retrieved from

Pungello, E. P., Iruka, I. U., Dotterer, A. M., Mills-Koonce, R., &ampReznick, J. S. (January 01, 2009). The effects of socioeconomicstatus, race, and parenting on language development in earlychildhood. Developmental Psychology, 45, 2, 544-57. Retrievedfrom