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It Takes a Village (Perhaps a Nation): Families, States, and Educational Achievement

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Research in the United States has shown that children growing up in 2-parent households do better in school than children from single-parent households. We used the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) data to test whether this finding applied to other countries as well ( N = 100,307). We found that it did, but that the educational gap was greater in the United States than in the other 13 countries considered. Results from 2-level hierarchical linear models demonstrated that international differences in the educational gap were associated with several indicators of national policy and demographic contexts. No single policy appeared to have a large effect, but several policy combinations were associated with substantially reduced educational gaps between children from different family structures.
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Keywords: childhood/children; cross-national; education; family policy; family structure; multilevel models

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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