Childhood Development

What are the basic skills that 2-year olds have developed?

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What are the basic skills that 2-year olds have developed?

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Main Finding

Cognitive skills of 2-year olds are directly related to socioeconomic status (SES).

Cognitive skills of 2-year-olds vary by race.

Key Observations

  • 2-year-olds in the lowest SES category score below those in the middle and highest categories for all five cognitive skills measured.
  • The largest difference in cognitive skills between 2-year-olds in the lowest and highest SES categories is in expressive vocabulary (24 percentage points).
  • Smaller percentages of black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native 2-year-olds demonstrated proficiency in all five cognitive skills compared to white or Asian 2-year-olds.
  • American Indian 2-year-olds consistently score lower than 2-year-olds from other groups on all cognitive tests.