Homework, exams, extracurriculars – being in school comes with a certain amount of stress for everyone. But for some students, even attending school on a regular basis is a challenge – a challenge that new data shows could be exacerbated by the level of income volatility experienced in a student’s household.

Income volatility – spikes and dips in income over time – is an emerging, critical issue for understanding household financial security today. A new study by New York University’s Lisa Gennetian, Pamela Morris, Heather Hill, and Chris Rodrigues sought to better understand the relationship between income volatility and child development.

After examining attendance rates for children in 4th, 7th, and 9th grades along with the level of income volatility experienced by their families, researchers found that high income volatility is associated with lower rates of school attendance among 4th and 7th graders, relative to stable income or moderate levels of income volatility.

Dr. Gennetian and her co-authors note that income volatility could negatively impact student attendance if it disrupts family routines, creates higher risk for illness through stress or material hardships, and may negatively affect parent’s ability to pay for basic materials and preparation for school, including clothes, transportation, and after-school care.

Read the full article on how income volatility hurts students by Tat’yana Berdan at The Aspen Institute