Money Spent on Housing Linked to Children’s Cognition

September 1, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. allot /əˈlɒt/ (v.) – to assign an amount or portion of something
Example: Parents must always allot time for their children.

2. approximately /əˈprɒksɪmɪtlɪ/ (adv.) – close to the amount of something; not precise
Example: I have approximately five minutes before I become late for school.

3. income /ˈɪn kʌm/ (n.) – the amount that a person earns
Example: Her father’s monthly income is $5,000.

4. suitable /ˈsu bəl/ (adj.) – being right and appropriate
Example: A school with a good teaching environment is suitable for young students.

5. trade-off /ˈtreɪdˌɔf, -ˌɒf/ (n.) – a situation in which one gives up something in order to get something else
Example: Lisa had a trade-off with Anna. She exchanged her necklace for Anna’s novels.


Read the text below.
A new study revealed that the money a family allots on housing affects their children’s cognitive abilities.

Researchers Sandra J. Newman and C. Scott Holupka of Johns Hopkins [HOP-kinz] University conducted a study that aimed to know how money spent on housing affects the physical health, well-being, and cognitive ability of children. The study was published in the Journal of Housing Economics and the Housing Policy Debate.

Based on the findings, researchers found no connection between income on housing and the physical and social health of the children. However, the cognitive ability of the children was highly affected.

Results also showed that children tend to have better cognitive abilities when their families spend approximately 30% of their income for housing purposes. Children of families who spent this amount for housing got significantly higher test scores than the others.

According to Newman, if the amount spent for housing is under or over one-third of the family’s total income, the children’s cognition will suffer. In fact, families who spent more than half of their money have children with lower test scores in reading and math. Researchers also saw this result to children whose families spent only 20% of their income for housing.

Researchers said that those who spent too much for their houses were not able to buy important educational tools such as books and computers for their children. On the other hand, those who spent less on their housing were probably in places not suitable for learning.

The researchers suggested that families should not opt for trade-offs as this will have a bad consequence for the children.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the study’s results? Why or why not?
·         In what other ways can parents help their children develop their abilities?

Discussion B

·         What should parents financially prioritize? Please explain your answer.
·         Does the type of housing matter to you? Why or why not?

September 1, 2014