Home Libraries Influence a Kid's Success in School

According to a study in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, children growing up in homes with a large library of books will go farther in academia. The findings, reported by sociologists at the University of Nevada, came from data collected in the World Inequality Study of 73,000 people in over 27 countries.

It turns out that children who grow up surrounded by books are 20 percent more likely to finish college than those who do not. More specifically, according to the study, living in a home with a library of 500 books garners a student 3.2 more years of education than his or her peer raised in a book-less home.

Miller-McCune unpacks some of the differences across nations

This effect holds true regardless of a nation’s wealth, culture or political system, but its intensity varies from country to country. In China, a child whose parents own 500 books will average 6.6 more years of education than a comparable child from a bookless home. In the U.S., the figure is 2.4 years — which is still highly significant when you consider it’s the difference between two years of college and a full four-year degree.

Of course, there's definitely an income stratification component to the finding—probably in all countries. But, it's still nice to know that reading is fundamental. I'd just like to see how the Internet and e-books will impact this finding down the road.


(cc) via Flickr user brokersaunders.