Friday, August 29, 2014

Social class changes research

The 2014 book The Long Shadow draws insights plucked from three decades spent diligently tracking nearly 800 Baltimore inner-city kids, from first grade to age 28 or 29. The  researchers found that the resources and strength of a child’s family tended to exert a powerful influence over a child’s future. Poor kids tended to become poor adults, with surprisingly few kids jumping up or down the socioeconomic ladder in Baltimore. Mostly, kids grew up only to arrive where they started.
The finding has major implications for health, too, since ample research has long shown that income and education levels – one’s socioeconomic status – are strongly linked to all sorts of health measures, including disease susceptibility and lifespan. The entrenched poverty and lack of social mobility that researchers found in Baltimore raises questions about the prospects for success of the battle to reduce class- and race-based health disparities.

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