Being Poor Lowers Your IQ
Study suggests a 13-point drop for those in poverty
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2013 3:52 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Poverty doesn't just take a physical toll—it actually lowers a person's IQ, suggests a new study in Science. Researchers found that the IQ of those under constant financial strain dropped as much as 13 points, about the same effect as a night without sleep, reports the Washington Post. "Picture yourself after an all-nighter," says a study author. "Being poor is like that every day." The problem is that people in poverty use up their brainpower in day-to-day survival and are prone to bad decisions that keep them in the cycle.

"Past research has often blamed (poverty) on the personal failings of the poor," says another of the researchers. "They don’t work hard enough; they’re not focused enough. What we’re arguing is it’s not about the individual. It’s about the situation." The Atlantic has more details on how the study was conducted, and writer Emily Badger sees the results as "groundbreaking." The findings "could fundamentally change the way we think about poverty," she writes.

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traybon
Sep 3, 2013 4:29 PM CDT
Bullcrap. Take some poor fool of a loser out of his "environment" and give him fantastic wealth for his perceived ability to sing, dance or play football, and he will still peel his bananas with his toes. Earth-to-liberals: idiocy is genetic. If your mommy peels her bananas with her toes, so will you.
NotApologizing
Sep 1, 2013 12:02 PM CDT
How did everyone read the article and get being poor means you're stupid. The article even related the lower IQ levels to operating without sleep. It's no big surprise that you aren't your best when trying to function without sleep. Logically, being poor, because of high levels of stress, leaves you operating with less, which perpetuates a cycle of bad decisions. It doesn't imply poor people are stupid, but their current situations do make it hard to focus. As for all the "I grew up poor and did just fine!" Well, good for you, but key phrase being "grew up". Bet mommy and daddy were the ones shouldering the stress and taking the "intellectual hit" to get food on the table, while you clutched a ragged teddy and resented not having as much as other kids. If this study would've been about college students who suffer intellectually from high stress levels, there would be no debate. Of course, we would still have to endure the testimonials: "I went to college while working 3 jobs and stripping at night and did just fine."
Riffran
Sep 1, 2013 7:00 AM CDT
I have seen people grow up in a poor childhood (myself included), and they chose to not continue the cycle. Don't like your situation, make better choices, and put forth the effort to achieve your goals. Sitting on your butt and crying "oh woe is me" will get you exactly that.