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The Childhood Age That Predicts Future Success

The Childhood Age That Predicts Future Success Credit: Woman doing math image via Shutterstock

If you want to see which kids will grow up to be the most successful adults, visit their second-grade classroom, new research suggests.

A study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland discovered that math and reading ability at age 7 are linked with socioeconomic status several decades later.  The researchers found that such childhood abilities predict socioeconomic status in adulthood over and above associations with intelligence, education and socioeconomic status in childhood.

The study was based on data from the National Child Development Study, a nationally representative study that followed more 17,000 people in England, Scotland and Wales over a span of about 50 years, from when they were born in 1958 to present-day.

[10 Scientific Tips for Raising Happy Kids]

The researchers found that participants who had higher reading and math skills as children ended up having higher incomes, better housing and better jobs in adulthood. The data found, for example, that going up one reading level at age 7 was associated with a $7,750 increase in income at age 42.

"These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school, or the social class you started off in, will be important throughout your life," said the study's authors, Stuart Ritchie and Timothy Bates.

The researchers believe genes may play a role in the study's results.

"Genes underlie many of the differences among children on all the variables we've looked at here," Ritchie and Bates said.

The study, which was supported by an Economic and Social Research Council scholarship, was recently published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Follow Chad Brooks on Twitter @cbrooks76 or BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+. This story was originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.