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Research: High-Quality ECE Strengthens Families and Can Break the Cycle of Poverty

Resource May 14, 2019

A new analysis from Nobel laureate economist James Heckman finds that targeted, high-quality early childhood investments have the power to lift multiple generations out of poverty.

This research demonstrates the impact of high-quality early childhood experiences, as participants and their children saw significant increases in education, health, full-time employment and reduced incidence of anti-social behavior or crime.

Specifically, the new paper, Intergenerational and Intragenerational Externalities of the Perry Preschool Project, shows that effective early childhood development leads to better adult family lives, including:

  • more stable marriages;
  • greater likelihood of providing their children with a more stable two-parent home in which to grow up;
  • having children slightly later in life; and
  • remain stably married by the time their children turned 18
    • 3x more time spent for all children
    • 12x more time spent for male participants

The new data also indicates substantial second-generation effects on education, health, employment and crime for the children of participants, including:

  • Completing high school without suspension (67% vs 40%)
  • Never suspended, addicted or arrest (60% vs 40%)
  • Employed full-time or self employed (59% vs. 42%)

This research is yet further evidence that investing in high-quality early childhood education can produce gains for disadvantaged children and deliver better outcomes for society.

Read the full study here.

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