Social Sciences

The Shocking 30 Million Word Gap

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A family's socioeconomic status affects more than just their lifestyle, it can also impact the intellectual development of children as early as 18 months old. Researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley identified what they call "The 30 Million Word Gap," which shows that children in higher income families will hear approximately 30 million more words than children in families on welfare by the time they are three years old. The researchers found that these discrepancies are even visible in children's brain scans. And this gap doesn't just disappear after age three: hearing additional words so early in life leads to higher IQs and more academic success later.