18 Jan 2012

Poverty transfers across generations - study

2:42 pm on 18 January 2012

A long-term study into child poverty has confirmed the theory that children raised in poor families are less likely to succeed in areas such as income and educational achievement than children raised in more affluent circumstances.

The Christchurch Health and Development Study has observed the development of 1265 children born in 1977.

The study's preliminary findings were released in a report published by the Children's Commissioner.

It looks at areas including educational achievement, earnings at age 30, rates of welfare dependence, and becoming a parent at an early age.

The study's director, David Fergusson, says in terms of income and educational achievement, the environment the children were raised in when young was clearly linked to how they turned out later in life.

He said that applied even when factors such as intelligence are taken into account.

"There does appear to be a general tendency for economic advantage to be transmitted across generations."

While the study found poor families were more prone to disadvantageous outcomes, it also concluded that increased rates of disadvantage were not confined to them.