Socioeconomic status and academic achievement

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

18 Citations (Scopus)


Social economic status (SES), which is often measured as a combination of family income, parental education, and occupational status, has been identified as an important predictor of children's academic success in school. Even before entering school, children's academic performance can to some extent be predicted based on characteristics of their family SES backgrounds. Low-SES families are categorized as having low income which is often associated with the low educational standards of the parents, many of whom live on welfare or minimal wage. Such families are less likely to access social connections and educational resources at home and this may in turn place their children at risk for different academic problems. Initial academic skills seem to correlate with the home environment, where an environment of low literacy and numeracy possibly combined with health problems may negatively affect the development of children's academic skills. The fact that low SES families live together in communities further exacerbates the problem as schools in these communities tend to be under-resourced with high drop-out rates and generally less adequate educational standards. Thus not only do low SES children start school with academic disadvantages, the gap between them and middle SES children widens with time. This article reviews recent research examining the association between SES, child health, family characteristics, school environment, cognitive development, literacy and numeracy achievement, and country characteristics and student achievement. It may shed further light on cognitive development and academic achievement of children with low SES backgrounds and provide grounds for further work on research and practice. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences
EditorsJames D. WRIGHT
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherElsevier Inc.
ISBN (Print)9780080970875, 9780080970868
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Chung, K. K. H. (2015). Socioeconomic status and academic achievement. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (2nd ed., pp. 924-930). Amsterdam: Elsevier.


  • Child health
  • Country differences in achievement
  • Family background
  • Family investment model
  • Family stress model
  • Literacy
  • Neighborhood effects
  • Academic achievement
  • Achievement
  • Numeracy
  • Parental education
  • Parenting practices
  • Poverty
  • School environment
  • Socioeconomic status


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