Poverty experiences of young children and the quality of their home environments

Child Dev. 1994 Apr;65(2 Spec No):331-45.


This paper assesses the relative contribution of maternal, household, child, and poverty characteristics to the quality of the home environment. The sample consists of 1,887 children birth to 4 years old from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). Ordinary least-squares regression is used to explore conceptually distinct aspects of children's poverty experiences. Poverty variables are found to have a statistically significant effect on the quality of the home environment, after controlling for the effects of other variables in the models. Statistically significant interactions among poverty variables are identified. A major finding is that improvements in family income have the strongest effects on the quality of the home environment for children who were born poor or lived much of their lives in poverty. The conclusion emphasizes implications for future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Personality Development*
  • Poverty / psychology*
  • Psychosocial Deprivation
  • Social Environment*
  • Socialization*