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Does a Child’s Family Income Have an Impact on the Size of Their Brain?

By: Krystle Crossman

Nature Neuroscience recently published a study that looked at the size of a child’s brain and how it was connected to their family’s income. The researchers found some interesting results after the study concluded. The participants were 1,100 children from different family incomes and different backgrounds. They did an MRI on each child and mapped out the surface area of their brains. They also did cognitive and developmental studies as well as studies of their home life.

After the study concluded the researchers compiled the data and found that the children who came from more affluent families had brains that had an average of 6% more surface area than children that came from lower socioeconomic classes. The children from affluent families often do much better in school and achieve higher scores on standardized tests than kinds from lower income families do, although this has not been a secret. The most interesting part of the study was how the income of the child’s family seemed to have a correlation with the size of their brain.

So how is it possible that a child who comes from a wealthy family can have a bigger brain? The researchers attributed this to their access to healthier foods, more vitamins and minerals, and more educational stimuli from the time that they are infants. These things help significantly with brain development. They also help the child to have better cognitive and developmental functions. The children that live in poverty-level income homes often eat food that is not nutritious at all and they do not get the proper proteins and omegas that they need to develop properly. They also often have parents who work multiple jobs and do not have a lot of time to try and teach them while they are at home.

There are ways that children in lower income areas can get the access to the things that they need for healthy brain development such as after school programs and lunches or breakfasts that are provided by the school. These programs can help them to get the nutrition and the activity that they need to develop.

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