Just as life expectancy may be increased with improved socioeconomic status, so, too, could IQ.
IQ levels of disadvantaged children of all races could be raised if they received greater intellectual stimulation at home, said sociologist Jonathan Crane of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
A study of 12,686 people born between 1957 and 1964 showed that when all socioeconomic factors were equal, there were no differences on reading and math scores among different races.
Early intervention, parent training and a compensatory education system that emphasizes parental involvement are affordable measures that could significantly raise test scores, Mr. Crane said.
"Money provides access to better housing, better neighborhoods, better education and cultural advantages," he said.
"Parents who are better educated tend to be more comfortable reading to their children. Those with less education may not read as much to their children because they are not as comfortable doing so."